Chandigarh | Jagran Politics Desk: In a major political development in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday formed an alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for next year's assembly election in the state. In a presser, the Akali Dal announced that it will field candidates on 97 seats while the BSP contest on 20 seats out of the 117 constituencies.

The two parties also announced that the BSP will contest from Kartarpur Sahib in Jalandhar, Jalandhar-West, Jalandhar-North, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur Urban, Dasuya, Chamkaur Sahib in Rupnagar district, Bassi Pathana, Sujanpur in Pathankot, Mohali, Amritsar North and Amritsar Central.

"It's a new day in Punjab politics, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to fight the 2022 Punjab Legislative Assembly elections and future elections together," Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

BSP MP Satish Mishra, on the other hand, said that his party and the Akali Dal would work together to end corruption in Punjab, adding that the current Congress government is "anti-Dalits and anti-farmers".

"It's a historic day as the alliance has been formed with Shiromani Akali Dal, which is Punjab's biggest party. In 1996 both BSP and SAD jointly fought Lok Sabha polls and emerged victorious on 11 of 13 seats. This time the alliance won't be broken," ANI quoted Mishra as saying.

Akali Dal, the oldest ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in September last year amid differences over the contentious farm laws. Soon, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries, had also resigned from her position.

However, with its alliance with the BSP, the Akali Dal is looking to fill the gap in seats that was left vacant after it broke ties with the BJP. Interestingly, Badal on June 5 had said that the Akali Dal is open for a pre-poll alliance with parties other than Congress, BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

In an interview with ANI, the Akali Dal supremo had also categorically ruled out the possibility of aligning with the BJP for the Punjab polls. "We are open to alliances with other parties minus Congress, BJP and AAP. We cannot align with these parties. We will form alliances and we are open to others. No chance to go with BJP at all," he had said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma