Ahead of assembly polls in Punjab, the BSP-SAD alliance suffered two major blows. While former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) state president Rachhpal Raju was expelled by the party, BSP’s OBC wing president Sukhbir Singh Shalimar tendered his resignation, apparently unhappy with the seat-sharing arrangement.
Raju is considered a mass leader of the BSP in Punjab, while Shalimar, too, has served as the party’s state vice-president. Both the leaders had alleged that the party’s state leadership was misleading Mayawati regarding BSP’s seat sharing arrangements with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
According to a report in the Indian Express, Shalimar said no senior party leader from the state was taken into confidence at the time of the SAD-BSP alliance being formed. He said that with this alliance, the BSP would be on the backfoot in the 2022 elections, because all the winnable seats had been given to the SAD by the BSP state leaders.
“Also this alliance defeated the very mission of the founder of party, Late Kanshi Ram, who was working for the economic upliftment of the poor and downtrodden,” Shalimar was quoted as saying by the newspaper. He said that more party leaders would be resigning in the coming days.
After a gap of almost 25 years, the SAD and the BSP has formally stitched an alliance in Punjab with an eye on a huge Dalit vote bank in the state ahead of the upcoming assembly elections.
Dalits account for almost 31 per cent of voters in Punjab and play an important role in determining the fortunes of political parties.
The announcement of the alliance was made in a joint press conference by SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and BSP leader Satish Mishra. The two parties had contested in the 1996 Lok Sabha polls with the alliance bagging 11 out of the 13 seats.
Badal had said that as per the alliance, the BSP will contest 20 assembly seats while the rest will go to the SAD. In the Doaba region, which has a major chunk of the 31 per cent Dalit votes, the BSP will contest eight seats. The party will also put up its candidates on seven seats in Malwa and five in the Majha region. The assembly segments that have been allotted to BSP are Kartarpur Sahib, Jalandhar-West, Jalandhar -North, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur, Tanda, Dasuya, Chamkaur Sahib, Bassi Pathana, Mehal Kalan, Nawanshahar, Ludhiana North, Sujjanpur, Boha, Pathankot, Anandpur Sahib, Mohali, Amritsar central and north and Payal.