June 28, 2021 2:30:29 am
THE BSP-SAD alliance suffered two major blows on Sunday, with former BSP state president, Rachhpal Raju, being expelled by the party and the BSP’s OBC wing president Sukhbir Singh Shalimar tendering his resignation, apparently unhappy with the seat-sharing arrangement.
While Raju was considered as a mass leader of the BSP, who had created the party’s base in Punjab, Shalimar, too, is a stalwart who has served as the party’s state vice-president.
Both leaders had made allegations that the party’ state leadership was misleading the national president, Mayawati, regarding the party’s seat-sharing arrangement with the SAD.
Under the SAD-BSP seat-sharing arrangement for the 2022 Punjab polls, the BSP was to contest from 20 seats of the state. Party workers feel that out of the 20 seats given to them, nearly two-thirds were seats where the BSP was not strong.
On the contrary, all seats where the BSP has a strong base were given to the SAD. The workers have held several meetings, especially in the Doaba region which is a stronghold of the BSP, ever since the seat-sharing arrangement was declared. The party workers have suggested that both the SAD and the BSP swap some seats for the alliance to reap better results.
On Sunday, under the signature of BSP’s state president Jasbir Singh Garhi, former president Rachhpal Raju was expelled from the party for alleged anti-party activities.
It is learnt that Raju had attended the meetings of party workers in Hoshiarpur and Garhshankar Assembly constituencies on discussing the seat-sharing arrangements. These meetings, sources said, was highly critical of the present formula for seat-sharing. Raju said, “BSP national president (Mayawati) was wrong information by the state party officials.”
Raju’s wife is currently the vice president of the Garhshankar Municipal council.
“My wife was supposed to go to the municipality to collect the grant for Garhshankar, but couldn’t for some reason. I had, hence, gone to collect the funds on her behalf. There, former Congress MLA from Garhshankar, Luv Kumar Goldi, was present in the office. Someone clicked a photo of me with Goldi and it reached the party high command, who thought I was switching over to the Congress,” said Raju.
Raju said that he is a worker soldier of the party and is working on the ideals of party founder Late Kanshi Ram.
He said that the BSP has about 24, 000 votes in Garhshankar and the workers feel that the party should contest from here in 2022 Punjab elections.
It is also learnt that in a party meeting held at Lucknow, under the chairpersonship of Mayawati, it was made clear that seat-sharing arrangement is not going to change. The BSP state president has shared this information on his Facebook account.
Shalimar, on the other hand, while speaking to The Indian Express, said that at the time of the SAD-BSP alliance being formed, no senior party leader from the state was taken into confidence. He said that with this alliance, the BSP would be on the backfoot in the 2022 elections, because all the winnable seats had been given to the SAD by the BSP state leaders.
“Also this alliance defeated the very mission of the founder of party, Late Kanshi Ram, who was working for the economic upliftment of the poor and downtrodden,” Shalimar said.
He said that in 1996, the SAD had an alliance with BSP and the BSP had worked hard. The alliance got 11 out of 13 seats in Lok Sabha elections, but then Parkash Singh Badal had ditched the BSP and brokered a new alliance with the BJP. In 1997, the SAD- BJP government was formed in the state.
He said that more party leaders would be resigning in the coming days.
Shalimar had contested 2002 assembly elections from Adampur and had got 15,000 votes.
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