The BJP’s alliance partner in Delhi, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), has demanded that it contest six seats instead of the four seats it has traditionally been contesting in the capital. The demand comes even though previous state elections did not yield the desired results for the party.
The SAD contested four seats in the 2013 and 2015 assembly polls — Hari Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Kalkaji and Shahadara. While the party won three seats in 2013, it lost all seats in the 2015 polls.
SAD sources said the party is pushing for two more seats, East Delhi’s Rohtas Nagar and West Delhi’s Moti Nagar, as these constituencies have a large chunk of Sikh and Punjabi voters, and the party feels it has strong candidates for these seats.
A senior SAD leader said that at a recent meeting, in which SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal was also present, SAD’s Delhi unit was asked to present this demand before the BJP. “We have communicated the demand to the Delhi BJP and will present it to BJP’s central leadership soon,” he said.
The SAD regained Rajouri Garden in the 2017 bypolls, with joint candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa bagging over 50% of the total votes polled. When contacted, Sirsa said, “We have a strong alliance with BJP. We are sure we will jointly form the government in Delhi.” He refused to comment on the alliance formation for the upcoming Assembly polls.
The BJP-SAD alliance had seen a strain in Haryana, after the BJP inducted Kalanwali MLA Balkaur Singh into the party, and the SAD announced it would be contesting Haryana on its own.
The BJP won 40 seats in the Haryana Assembly polls this year, as compared to 47 seats the party bagged in the previous assembly polls. It formed the government with the Jannayak Janta Party, which won 10 seats.
A senior SAD leader said : “In Delhi, SAD staged a thumping victory in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee polls held in 2017, by bagging 35 of 46 seats. This shows the party has a good presence among Delhi’s Sikh voters.”