Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has identified 30 Assembly Seats in Uttar Pradesh and the party plans to field its candidates for the UP Assembly elections 2017.
As per the sources, SAD will soon tell BJP about its motive to field candidates for the UP elections. While doing this, the party will give hint to BJP that SAD is open to form an alliance. In Punjab, both the parties are part of alliance for the upcoming election that are due next year.
The sources added that this move is supported by Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD president and Punjab Deputy CM.
“We have been holding surveys for the past several months about the feasibility of Akali Dal entering the poll arena in UP, which has a substantial Punjabi-speaking population, including Sikhs.” said former UP cadre IAS officer Rai Singh, who has been appointed president of the SAD units in UP and Uttarakhand.
He added that there are around 45 seats in total, where Punjabis can either help a candidate of their choice to win or can spoil someone else’s chance. They have identified these seats.
“We will either contest as part of a pre-poll alliance with the BJP or field candidates on our own. But, we have made up our mind that we will test the waters in the state,” said former UP cadre IAS officer Rai Singh, who has been appointed president of the SAD units in UP and Uttarakhand.
Singh, once an aide of BSP founder Kanshi Ram also said that many big politicians from other parties are in touch with SAD to contest the elections. This also includes a BJP district president. However, they are not taking a decision on introducing anyone in rush.
SAD is also thinking of contesting elections in not only in UP but also in Uttarakhand. The state has good number of Punjabis, especially in Terai region.
“We have been asked to prepare for the Uttarakhand elections too. There are 30-35 seats where Punjabis are in substantial numbers,” Rai said.
If SAD will contests in UP polls. This is not the first time that a Punjab-centric party will fight elections outside Punjab. In the 2015 Delhi elections, SAD had fielded four candidates on seats. BJP allotted to these seats to them but none of them had won. In 2014, SAD had left the alliance with NDA. The party fielded two candidates in the Haryana election in alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal.
As per the Sources, Sukhbir has asked the senior leaders to hold meetings with potential candidates in the two states to measure SAD’s prospects there.
“Senior leaders have been touring the state. In fact, our first list is ready and is awaiting the approval of the leadership. I have toured UP five times in the past six months. The response was excellent. The Punjabis there need somebody to speak for them,” said SAD general secretary and MP Prem Singh Chandumajra.
A senior SAD leader replied when he was asked about spoiling the relationship with BJP. He said that It will not. There alliance is only in Punjab. They are open to do alliance with BJP in UP too.But, if BJP will not agree, the party will go ahead.