BJP to Contest All 117 Seats in Punjab 2022 Polls
Gen Secy Tarun Chugh made the statement two months after BJP’s ally SAD quit the NDA over contentious farm laws.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Tarun Chugh announced on Monday, 16 November that the BJP will contest all 117 Assembly constituencies in the 2022 Punjab Assembly polls alone.
Chugh’s statement comes nearly two months after the BJP’s oldest ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), broke its alliance with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Punjab over three contentious farm laws.
Chugh put out a series of tweets on Tuesday saying his party is strengthening itself on a war footing to contest all the 117 seats in Punjab’s 2022 polls. This is the party’s first official statement about contesting the 2022 polls alone.
The BJP general secretary said that party President Jagat Prakash Nadda will virtually inaugurate 10 district offices of the party on 19 November. “BJP president JP Nadda will virtually inaugurate 10 district offices of the party which are equipped with state of the art infrastructure on 19 November and thereafter will undertake a three-day tour to the state to take stock of the preparations and galvanise party workers for the forthcoming Assembly poll battle,” he added, reported news agency, ANI.
Chugh told ANI that the organisational structure at 23,000 polling booths in the state is being strengthened by mobilising BJP workers at the grassroots level.
Chugh said the party leaders will popularise the 160 public welfare schemes under the leadership of state unit president Ashwani Sharma that were launched by the BJP-Modi government in Punjab.
Chugh said to ANI that though the BJP had only contested a fraction of the Assembly and the Lok Sabha seats, it always had a presence across all 117 Assembly seats in Punjab.
“The last elections that we (BJP) fought alone was in 1992. We may have had an alliance with the SAD in the later years and Akalis did fight on the bulk of seats, but it would be wrong to presume that we do not have any base in the rest of the seats in Punjab,” said Chugh to ANI.
The BJP’s alliance with SAD in Punjab began in 1992. SAD was the senior party and hence contested 94 seats, whereas the BJP contested 23 seats. Out of 13 Lok Sabha seats, BJP contested three and SAD contested 10 constituencies, reported The Indian Express.
The SAD broke away from the NDA in September over three contentious farm bills – 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.
The pressure to quit the NDA alliance had been mounting on the Akali Dal, following farmers’ protests over the Bills. The SAD initially supported the ordinances but later took a U-turn on the issue. Many senior party leaders had cautioned the party leadership over the possible backlash over the issue.
Later, the SAD’s sole representative in the Union Cabinet MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal also resigned from the government in protest of the farmer bills. Badal in her resignation letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wrote, “In view of the decision of the Government of India to go ahead with the Bill on the issue of marketing of agricultural produce without addressing and removing the apprehensions of the farmers and the decision of my party, Shiromani Akali Dal, not to be a part of anything that goes against the interests of the farmers, I find it impossible to continue to perform my duties as a minister in the Union Council of Ministers.”
(With inputs from ANI and The Indian Express)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.