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Sunday, February 23, 2020

SAD won’t contest Delhi elections amid differences with ally BJP over CAA, NRC

"During our meeting with the BJP, we were asked to reconsider our stand on CAA but we declined to do so. SAD is of the firm stand that Muslims cannot be left out of CAA," SAD leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 20, 2020 9:22:32 pm
Divided over stand on CAA, Shiromani Akali Dal will not contest Delhi assembly polls with BJP SAD leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said the party was asked to consider its stand on CAA. (File)

Signaling a rift with its NDA ally BJP, the Shiromani Akai Dal (SAD) announced on Monday that it would not contest the February 8 Delhi Assembly elections after it was asked by the saffron party to change its stance on the Citizenship law.

Addressing a press conference, SAD leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said the party was asked to consider its stand on CAA during three poll-related meetings with the BJP.

“During our meeting with the BJP, we were asked to reconsider our stand on CAA but we declined to do so. SAD is of the firm stand that Muslims cannot be left out of CAA,” Sirsa said.

Sirsa, who contested on a BJP ticket from Rajouri Garden in the 2017 bypolls, said the party was also against a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).

“We welcome CAA but we never demanded any religion be excluded. We are also strongly against the National Register of Citizens,” he said.

The SAD had earlier demanded that it contest six seats instead of the four seats it has traditionally been contesting in Delhi. The party contested four seats in the 2013 and 2015 assembly polls — Hari Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Kalkaji and Shahdara. While the party won three seats in 2013, it lost all seats in the 2015 polls.

This time around, sources said, SAD was 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

The SAD regained Rajouri Garden in the 2017 bypolls, with joint candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa bagging over 50% of the total votes polled.

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