Nearly two months after BJP’s long-term ally in Punjab Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) broke away from the NDA over the contentious farm laws, party general secretary Tarun Chugh announced that the Bharatiya Janata Party will contest all 117 Assembly constituencies in the 2022 state polls on its own, mounting a major challenge for the Congress party and Captain Amarinder Singh’s government.
“BJP is strengthening its organisation on a war footing to contest all 117 Assembly seats in Punjab,” Chugh said.
Why did SAD leave the NDA?
In September, SAD went against the NDA over three new agriculture sector reform laws enacted – Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Later, SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal also resigned from the Union cabinet.
What is the history of SAD’s alliance with the BJP?
BJP’s alliance with SAD in Punjab dates back to 1992. As per the seat-sharing formula settled between the allies over the years, the SAD being the senior partner used to contest on around 94 seats and the BJP on 23. Out of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, SAD used to field candidates in 10 constituencies and the BJP on three. In 2017 Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years. The SAD-BJP performed poorly in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as they won 2 seats each while Congress bagged 8 seats in Punjab.