SAD lead­ers look­ing for al­liance in Hry meet BJP rebel Saini

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - Htpunjab & Haryana - Gur­preet Singh Nib­ber ■ gur­preet.nib­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

CHANDI­GARH: In view of the Haryana as­sem­bly elec­tions due in Oc­to­ber this year, the Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (SAD) has started weigh­ing its po­lit­i­cal strength and look­ing at al­liance op­tions in the state.

On Sun­day, SAD’S Man­jin­der Singh Sirsa and NK Sharma, who are part of a three-mem­ber com­mit­tee con­sti­tuted by Sukhbir Singh Badal, held an in­for­mal meet­ing with Lok­tantra Su­rak­sha Party chief Raj Ku­mar Saini, a rebel Bharatiya Janata Party MP who floated his own po­lit­i­cal out­fit. SAD lead­ers, on the con­di­tion of anonymity, said the party will also hold talks with other par­ties such as BJP and Jan­nayak Janata party (JJP), the newly floated po­lit­i­cal out­fit by INLD MP Dushyant Chau­tala.

Ear­lier, the Bhau­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP) had also an­nounced its sup­port to LSP.

Fol­low­ing Sun­day’s meet­ing, SAD and LSP lead­ers de­cided to hold a meet­ing in Delhi, in which a BSP rep­re­sen­ta­tive will also be called.

The SAD’S move is be­ing seen as an at­tempt to out­smart the BJP, which it al­leges has been in­ter­fer­ing in Sikh mat­ters.

Con­firm­ing the meet­ing, Saini said dis­cus­sions were at a nascent stage but was all praise for the SAD. Call­ing the Akali Dal a strong po­lit­i­cal op­tion, the LSP chief said, “The SAD was used by the INLD led by Chau­ta­las for a long time. The Akalis could make a strong im­pact in the as­sem­bly seats bor­der­ing Pun­jab. Let us see how things de­velop in days to come.”

SAD’S think tank feels the party could make a for­mi­da­ble im­pact on 18 as­sem­bly con­stituen­cies in Haryana.

“In 18 seats, there is a 20,000plus strong Sikh pop­u­la­tion and in 11 con­stituen­cies, the vote count of Sikhs is around 90,000. We can make an im­pact in Dab­wali, Ra­tia, Ra­nia, Elen­abad, To­hana, Pe­howa, As­sand, Pun­dri, Ya­mu­nana­gar,narain­garh and Kalian­wali,” Sirsa told HT.

The old po­lit­i­cal coali­tion be­tween the Badals in Pun­jab and the Chau­ta­las in Haryana came to an end in De­cem­ber 2017. In the past, SAD used to con­test all elec­tions in Haryana in al­liance with the INLD, de­spite an al­liance with BJP in Pun­jab.

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