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Punjab elections 2022: Will Akali Dal-BSP alliance turn colour in Punjab?

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Akali Dal and BSP had formed an alliance in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections and are now coming together again after 25 years

Ground Report | New Delhi: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has tied up with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the assembly elections to be held in Punjab next year. Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday said that his party will fight the elections in alliance with Mayawati’s BSP. A decision has also been taken regarding seat-sharing between the two parties. While Akali Dal will contest on 97 seats, BSP has got 20 seats.

Announcing the alliance, Sukhbir Singh Badal said, “It is a new day in the politics of Punjab. Shiromani Akali Dal and BSP will fight together in 2022 and future elections.”Since leaving the BJP on agricultural laws, there was a possibility that Akali Dal and BSP could come together. It is being told that the Akali Dal has given most of the seats to the BSP, where the BJP used to field its candidates.

Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal is said to have played an important role in bringing the BSP together. He had said last week that he was ready for an alliance with any party except the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress, and the BJP. Badal had said, “We cannot join hands with these three parties. We will form an alliance and the doors are open for others. There is no question of going with the BJP again.”

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Satish Mishra was present on behalf of the BSP on the occasion of the announcement of the alliance. He said that the BSP has forged an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal, which is the largest party in Punjab. In 1996, both the parties fought the Lok Sabha elections together and won 11 out of 13 seats. This time this alliance will remain unbroken. In 1996, the Akali Dal won eight and the BSP had won three Lok Sabha seats.

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25 years old history of Akali-BSP

Through the alliance, the Akali Dal is eyeing a large Dalit vote bank of about 33% in Punjab, and Bahujan Samaj Party is being given mostly those seats where Dalit voters decide to lose and win. Of the seats given to BSP, mainly Kartarpur, Jalandhar West, Jalandhar North, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur Urban, Tanda, Dasuya, Chamkaur Sahib, Ludhiana North assembly seats are included.

Earlier, Akali Dal and BSP had formed an alliance in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections and are now coming together again after 25 years. In the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, this alliance won 11 out of 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. BSP won all three seats and Akali Dal won 8 out of 10 seats in the election.

These seats came in BSP’s bag

There are a total of 117 seats in the Punjab Legislative Assembly. Of these, Jalandhar, Jalandhar-West, Jalandhar-North, Kartarpur Sahib, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur Urban, Dasuya, Chamkaur Sahib in Rupnagar district, Bassi Pathana, Sujanpur in Pathankot, Mohali, Amritsar North, and Amritsar Central, etc. have gone to BSP.

How big is the role of the Dalit vote bank in Punjab politics?

Punjab has the highest number of Dalits as compared to the rest of the country. There are about 32 percent Dalit voters in Punjab. There are 23 seats in the Doaba region where Dalit voters are in a decisive role. With the BSP, Akali Dal hopes that it will be able to attract Dalit voters to its side. In the last assembly elections, a large number of voters of the Doaba region had shifted to the Congress.

Dalits, who make up about 32 percent of Punjab’s population, are playing a decisive role in Phagwara and Mukerian constituencies, where by-polls will be held on October 21, apart from Dakha and Jalalabad. Most of the Dalits in the state belong to the Ravidasiya community, which has a high dominance in the Doaba region.

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An interesting electoral battle is on the cards in the Phagwara constituency, reserved for the Scheduled Castes, with the ruling Congress hoping to win from here for the first time since 2002. The BJP is trying its best to defend the seat it has been winning. last three elections.

Which party got what percentage of votes in the last elections?

The vote share of both Akali Dal and BSP had decreased in the 2017 assembly of Punjab elections. The Akali Dal had got 36.6 percent of the votes in 2012. This share had come down to 25.2 percent in the 2017 elections. Similarly, BSP got 1.5 percent votes in 2017 with a loss of 4.3 percent. However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, both the parties benefited and the Akali Dal got 27.8 percent and the BSP 3.5 percent votes.

What did the BJP say about the alliance?

On the alliance, former cabinet minister and BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia said that the alliance will not be successful and BSP has been given 20 seats but it is difficult that Akali Dal will be able to cast its vote on these seats. He said that Akali Dal is an opportunistic party that earlier contested elections in alliance with BJP and now when it has lost its alliance with BJP, it is making Bahujan Samaj Party its weapon.

Overall, the way Akali Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party have announced an alliance, the politics of Punjab has completely heated up and in view of the alliance of these two parties, all other political parties have also come into election mode.

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