In a stunning political development coming just weeks before the Delhi elections, the NDA has been dealt a jolt with the Shiromani Akali Dal stating that it will not contest the upcoming polls.
Explaining the party’s stand, Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa stated that after the BJP leadership asked Akali Dal to reconsider its stand on Citizenship Amendment Act, Akali Dal decided that instead of changing its stand on CAA, it won’t contest the elections.
M Sirsa: SAD and BJP have an old relationship, but after stand by Sukhbir Badal ji on #CAA which was to include ppl from all religions, BJP leadership wanted us to reconsider this stand. So, we decided to not fight these polls instead of changing our stand. #DelhiElections2020 pic.twitter.com/eWfR7lViLI— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
Adding to his statement, Sirsa also clarified the party's stand on the National Register of Citizens and stated that NRC should not be implemented. "Shiromani Akali Dal also believes that the National Register of Citizens should not be implemented. We welcomed CAA but we never demanded that any religion be excluded from this act."
The news of SAD not contesting the Delhi elections comes just days after the BJP made no mention of it as part of its Delhi plans. While 57 election tickets have been announced, and three pegged for allies JD(U) and LJP, ten seats remain unannounced at the BJP's end.
Rajyasabha MP and SAD Delhi Incharge Balwinder Singh Bhunder said that though there is an indication that the alliance might break, the parties are still in talks regarding the same.
"It's not over as of now. We are still negotiating. Talks are on," added Bhunder. Elections are scheduled for February 8 and the result will be announced on February 11.
Senior BJP leaders earlier believed that breaking alliance with Akali in Delhi will have political impacts for its alliance in Punjab as well. Previously, during Haryana assembly elections, BJP had co-opted the sitting SAD MLA Balkaur Singh into BJP, which was criticised by the Akalis.