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Former BJP ally Akali Dal announces poll pact with Maywati’s BSP for Pujab Assembly polls 2022, offers 20 seats

After breaking ties with the BJP last year over the Centre’s contentious farm laws, the Shiromani Akali Dal on Saturday announced its alliance with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party to contest the Assembly elections in Punjab next year.

The Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday announced that his party will run for the upcoming Punjab polls in alliance with Mayawati’s BSP. The two parties were allies in 1996, before the Akali Dal dumped the BSP to tie-up with the BJP.

Announcing the new alliance, Sukhbir Singh Badal said that both the parties have come together to work for the farmers and Dalits. He also said thanked Mayawati’s BSP for coming forward and work for the people of Punjab.

Both parties have also decided on seat-sharing. The BSP, which has a considerable influence over the 31% Dalit votes in the state, will contest 20 of the 117 seats while Akali Dal will contest assembly elections on 97 seats. Similarly for Lok Sabha polls too, Akali Dal fielded candidates in 10 out of 13 seats while the BJP got three.

The Akali Dal, the oldest ally of BJP, have shared power in Punjab and at the Centre for several terms, however, ended last year after the Akali Dal quit NDA over the three contentious farm laws. The Akali Dal’s alliance with the BJP lasted 23 years and now, the Akali Dal is back with its old ally the BSP after 27 years.

Last year in September, Akali Dal had quit the NDA over three farm laws, which set off a storm of protests from farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana. Following which, the lone Akali Dal cabinet minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had exited the NDA. A week later, Sukhbir Badal called the bills lethal and disastrous for its key voter base of farmers and quit the NDA.

The 1996 Lok Sabha election alliance was the result of the efforts of BSP founder Kanshi Ram, who won from the Hoshiarpur seat in his home state. The revival of the alliance comes at a time when the BSP is fighting for survival in its most important state of Uttar Pradesh, which also goes to polls along with Punjab early next year.

The Akali Dal and the BSP are joining hands 27 years in Punjab after the 1996 Lok Sabha elections where the alliance had bagged 11 out of 13 seats. The Mayawati-led BSP had then won all three seats it had contested while the Akali Dal won eight out of 10 seats. The 1996 Lok Sabha election alliance was the result of the efforts of BSP founder Kanshi Ram, who won from the Hoshiarpur seat in his home state.

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The revival of the alliance comes at a time when the BSP is fighting for survival in its most important state of Uttar Pradesh, which also goes to polls along with Punjab early next year.

There are predictions that the alliance could alter political equations in Punjab ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections.

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