Updated: December 18, 2021 8:41:31 am
Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, BJP in-charge for the Assembly election in Punjab, said Friday that the party will contest the polls in alliance with Captain Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress Party. He made the announcement after a meeting with former Punjab chief minister in New Delhi.
Speaking to mediapersons, Shekhawat said: “Captain Saab and I had met in Chandigarh. The Home Minister, Amit Shahji, and the national president of BJP, J P Naddaji, had already given an indication that we will be fighting the elections jointly. Now, after this meeting, I can say that we will be fighting the Assembly elections together. On seat sharing, we will inform you after an appropriate time.”
Asked if Singh will be the chief ministerial face of the alliance, Shekhawat said: “The alliance itself is a face and you will get answers to all these questions soon.” Responding to questions, Singh said: “We have been in talks with the BJP leadership for the past many days. We are happy that the minister has today confirmed the same to you. We are 100 per cent ready for the elections and we will win it. There is no doubt on that. We will come to an understanding on a seat-to-seat basis. Winnability is our criteria. Wherever BJP candidates are strong, we will support them and vice versa they will support us.”
He claimed the alliance faces no opposition in the state. “We do not have any competition from Congress, Akalis or AAP. We will win 101 per cent,” he said.
On the announcements being made each day by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Singh said it takes four months to one-and-a-half years for any scheme to be viable on the ground. “Can you complete your announcements on ground in another week’s time when the code of conduct will be imposed? This is just a drama,” he said.
When his comments were sought on the appointment of the new DGP in Punjab, he said this question should be posed to those who appoint new DGPs every second day.
On Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu using a cuss word during a press conference Friday in Chandigarh, Singh said he was not aware of it, but Shekhawat intervened and said “jo jiska charitra hai, woh vaisi hee baat karega (your character decides your speech)”.
Soon after the alliance was sealed, Amarinder said he would be sounding the poll bugle by organising a rally on Tuesday at Rajpura, a part of his home district Patiala.
Talking to The Indian Express over the phone, Amarinder said, “I will be hitting the ground on Tuesday when I will address a rally there. After that, I will be addressing a rally in Ludhiana.”
On how many seats his party, Punjab Lok Congress, would contest in alliance with the BJP, Amarinder said, “The meeting was fruitful. BJP could not do more for us. It is not about number of seats. It is not a numbers game. Nor it is about a battle of oneupmanship. BJP has been really magnanimous. We have reached a consensus that we will first see how many seats we can win, how many BJP can win and how many S S Dhindsa’s party can win. I will make a list to have an idea about where we three stakeholders can have winnable candidates. We will sit together again. We have already had several sittings. We will support each other’s candidates.”
The former CM said, “We are throwing our hat in the ring to form a stable government in the state. We are not into it for any prestige. We have welfare of state on our mind. We know for sure that it is a border state having security as its issue of utmost importance and then there is bankruptcy. It needs experienced hands.”
Taking a dig at Chief Minister Chanranjit Singh Channi, he said what all he is doing is “Tom foolery”. “Is a Chief Minister for dancing or milking a goat? He has made a mockery of the state.”
Amarinder, who would be returning to Chandigarh on Saturday, said that he was feeling confident. “We will be preparing a manifesto together. I feel confident. Look at what the Congress is doing. We are going to ask them for answers. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has lost its sitting MLAs as they have defected. Their support base is shrunk.”
He said after coming back from Delhi, he would have to decide on inducting leaders into his party. “There are many people who are willing to join our party.”
Earlier, after meeting Shekhawat, Amarinder had tweeted: “Met union minister & @BJP4India incharge for Punjab, Shri @gssjodhpur in New Delhi today to chalk out future course of action ahead of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections. We have formally announced a seat adjustment with the BJP for the 2022 Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections.”
Over the last few days, the former chief minister has stepped up activities of his new party and has opened its offices in Chandigarh. He has also inducted several leaders from Congress and SAD into his party. These include a former Congress MP from Ludhiana and a former Akali MLA from Malerkotla. His party has also announced office-bearers for several districts of Punjab ahead of the polls.
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