NEW DELHI: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a member of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, said on Monday that owing to disagreements with the Bharatiya Janata Party over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), they have decided not to contest the February 8 Assembly elections in Delhi.
The Akalis had contested the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections as an ally of the BJP. Of the four seats SAD contested, it won one in bypolls. The BJP won three seats in the 70-member Assembly. There are approximately 10 lakh Sikh voters in the national capital who impact the outcome in 10 Assembly seats.
The strain on the Akali-BJP ties had also increased over the use of election symbols. The BJP reportedly wanted the Akali Dal candidates to contest under its symbol — the lotus — instead of the SAD’s election symbol, weighing scales. The two parties had used the same strategy in the 2015 Delhi election when two of its four candidates contested under the lotus.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, SAD’s sitting MLA from Rajouri Garden, said, “We have opted out as we refused to change our stand on including Muslims in the Citizenship Amendment Act.” The BJP had questioned SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s stand on the CAA.
“We were questioned on SAD leadership’s stand on the CAA and were told at three meetings that this was not the BJP stand… The party was asked to reconsider the stand on including Muslims in the CAA.”...