Union Home Minister Amit Shah with former Punjab chief minister and Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) leader Captain Amarinder Singh and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) president Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa during a meeting on Monday (PTI)
NEW DELHI: BJP is likely to play the role of senior partner in its alliance with Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s SAD (Sanyukt) in Punjab, and the coalition is unlikely to project any chief ministerial face in the run-up to the election, sources said on Monday.
Former Punjab CM Singh and former Union minister Dhindsa on Monday met the BJP top leadership, including Union home minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda in New Delhi. After the meeting at Shah’s residence, BJP’s Punjab in-charge Gajendra Shekhawat formally announced that all three parties will contest elections and will come up with a common manifesto. Shekhawat said a joint committee will be formed comprising two leaders from each party to finalise a seat-sharing agreement and a vision document.
Asked about the chief ministerial face of the coalition, Shekhawat said that the election will be contested “under the collective leadership of the alliance”.
“BJP usually contests election in the name of PM Modi,” he said, adding that the party does not project any face for the post of chief minister. He also underlined that the seatsharing agreement will not be based on the party’s previous alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab. “BJP is a national party which has won two Lok Sabha elections back to back and its base has expanded across the country so the alliance in Punjab will not be based on the seat distribution formula of its previous alliance with the Akali Dal in Punjab,” Shekhawat said.
The minister also said the vision document will focus on all pending issues of Punjab. Sources in the party said BJP will play the role of senior partner in the border state and may contest more than half the 117 seats.
BJP leaders expressed confidence that elections in Punjab becoming a five-cornered fight, with various farmer outfits having entered the fray in addition to Congress, SAD and AAP, will work in its favour. Singh formed his own party, the Punjab Lok Congress, days after he resigned as the chief minister and quit Congress.