Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party inked a poll pact with former BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal after Satish Chandra Mishra and Sukhbir Singh Badal met on Saturday. BSP will contest 20 seats and names of seats have been announced by Badal.
Before the meeting, SAD held a core committee discussion. The deal comes two months after Badal promised to pick a person from the Dalit community as deputy chief minister if voted to power in the Assembly polls due next year. Dalits have nearly 32 per cent share in Punjab’s population.
The alliance between the Akali Dal and BSP comes 27 years after the 1996 Lok Sabha elections when the allies had bagged 11 out of 13 seats in Punjab. The Mayawati-led BSP had then won all three seats it had contested while the Akali Dal won eight out of 10 seats. Earlier, BJP used to contest 23 seats in Punjab in alliance with SAD, and essentially BSP has now replaced BJP.
The Akali Dal also looks forward to filling the gap in several seats after the party split up with the BJP in September last year over its opposition to farm laws, sources told NDTV.
Reports say that BSP has a considerable hold over the 31 percent Dalit votes in Punjab. The concentration of the votes can be significant in the 23 seats of the Doaba region.
The Akali Dal and the BSP, which had fought the last elections in 2017 solo in the state, saw a dip in vote share compared to the 2007 polls. The Akali Dal-BJP alliance had came to power in 2007 before being ousted by the Congress in 2017.