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Suspense continues over AAP’s poll alliance in Punjab

Suspense continues over AAP’s poll alliance in Punjab
March 14
17:28 2019

Chandigarh, March 14 : The suspense over a possible alliance between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the newly formed Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali) continued on Thursday with both sides unable to reach an understanding for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Punjab.

Sources in both parties said there were “some contentious issues” that still had to be worked around before both sides arrive at a consensus to announce an alliance.

Both sides have been locked in a stalemate over the Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha seat. The SAD (Taksali) has announced its candidate, former Punjab assembly deputy speaker Bir Devinder Singh. The AAP wants its leader Narinder Singh Shergill to be fielded from this seat.

“Leaders of both sides are holding meetings and we are looking at a positive outcome. It has been delayed but some agreement is on the cards,” a senior AAP leader told IANS.

AAP Punjab president and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann also said that “issues were being sorted out”.

The SAD (Taksali) was floated in December last year by senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) who had been expelled from the party (SAD) for anti-party activities.

The senior Akali leaders, including sitting Member of Parliament (MP) from Khadoor Sahib parliamentary seat, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, had revolted against SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and questioned his leadership.

“Taksali means genuine and old. We are the real Akali Dal,” Brahmpura, the president of the new party, has said.

In the 2014 general election, Punjab virtually voted against the national pro-BJP voting trend.

The SAD-BJP alliance could manage only six out of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state (SAD got 4 and BJP got 2). The Congress won three seats. Its tally is now four after it won the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat in a by-election in 2017.

The AAP, which was routed in all other states, managed to win four Lok Sabha seats in Punjab and got it first representatives in the Lower House.

Repeating its 2014 general election performance would now be an uphill task for the AAP which is fast losing its support base. The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led party is trying hard for an alliance with the SAD (Taksali).

Two AAP MPs — Dharam Vira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa, have been under suspension from the AAP since May 2015. Gandhi has floated a new political front and joined the Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA).

Voting for 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state will be held on May 19.

The Congress government in Punjab, led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, has been in power since May 2017. The party won the February 2017 assembly elections with a thumping majority — winning 77 seats in the 117-member assembly. The Congress tally is now 78 seats after it later won a by-election. The AAP ended up as the main opposition party in the assembly.


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