BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh Monday said his party has started preparations on a war footing to contest all 117 seats in the 2022 Punjab assembly elections. This is the first official statement from BJP clarifying that it will be contesting all the Assembly seats in Punjab alone, something that the saffron party said it had been doing till 1992 before entering into an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal.
Chugh said the organisational structure at 23,000 polling booths in the state is being strengthened by mobilising BJP workers at the grassroots level.
“BJP president J P Nadda will virtually inaugurate 10 district offices of the party on November 19 and thereafter will undertake a three-day tour to the state to take stock of the preparations and galvanise party workers for the forthcoming Assembly poll battle,” he added.
He said the party leaders led by state unit president Ashwani Sharma will popularise 160 public welfare schemes launched by the Narendra Modi government in Punjab and apprise people of the progress made on them in the state.
Idea Exchange with Sukhbir Badal | ‘One party dominating country may work in short term… (But) Like Cong collapsed, same can happen’
Chugh’s statement comes nearly two months after the Akali Dal, one of the oldest allies of the BJP, had quit the NDA over the the three farm laws enacted by Centre.
As per the seat-sharing formula between the two parties, the BJP used to field its candidates on three of the 13 parliamentary seats and 23 of 117 Assembly constituencies in Punjab. The rest were kept for the SAD.
Chugh said that though his party had been fighting on only a fraction of the Assembly and the Lok Sabha seats, but it always had a presence across all 117 Assembly seats in Punjab.
“The last elections that we fought alone was in 1992. We may have had an alliance with the SAD in the later years and Akalis did fight on the bulk of seats, but it would be wrong to presume that we do not have any base in the rest of the seats in Punjab,” said Chugh.
Asked about the fallout of the parting of ways with its oldest ally and its impact on BJP in areas with Akali voter base, Chugh said that many senior Akali leaders had already parted ways with the SAD and this was an indication of the way forward
“Whether it be Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa or Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, many senior Akali leaders have quit SAD leaving it in a weak state. Many more will follow suit in days to come,” said Chugh.
Responding to a question if this meant that the dissident Akali leadership will be joining hands with the BJP, Chugh said that not only Akalis, but sections of senior leadership of Congress was also in touch with the saffron party.
“BJP is a national party. Many people will join it with new hopes when it charters its own course in Punjab in 2022,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines