New Delhi: Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Monday decided to contest the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections with like-minded parties, but made clear that its alliance with BJP is "rock solid and intact".
The decision was taken at a meeting of Akali leaders here, where SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the party wants to ensure due recognition for Sikhs and the Punjabi community by expanding in the state.
Badal, however, put at rest all speculation and said that "the party's alliance with BJP is rock solid and intact".
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rai Singh was also appointed as party's incharge of the state.
The SAD chief formed a 5-member committee to focus on strengthening SAD in UP and identify the potential 40-45 seats it plans to contest in the 2017 assembly polls, keeping in view the number of Sikhs and Punjabi's population in the state.
SAD is in alliance with BJP both at the Centre and shares power with it in Punjab for the last ten years. Punjab election are also slated in early 2017.
The committee comprising Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Sri Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, Cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, President Delhi Unit and DSGMC Manjit Singh GK and senior leader Avtar Singh Hit would submit its report to the SAD President within two weeks.
Elaborating on its the agenda for UP, Punjab deputy Chief Minister said SAD would launch a concerted campaign in UP in order to redress the problems being faced there by Sikhs and Punjabi community besides ameliorating their lot. For this, the need for having an organised party structure in UP is being carefully looked into, he said.
Badal said Sikhs and Punjabi community has done a lot for the development of the state and are the prime contributors to the parameters of progressive index there.
The Punjabi community has still not got its due in UP, which explains and justifies the need for SAD to step in to cater to their needs and aspirations, he said.
"Being the second oldest party in the country's polity, SAD has a glorious history of playing a yeoman role in freedom movement and after independence too, it was always been in the forefront for the sake of Punjabis, Sikhs and every other community which made it the epitome of secularism,"Badal said.
The SAD President further said that it is the motive of the SAD to harness the capabilities of UP based Punjabis and Sikhs by bringing them all under the unified banner of SAD as various political outfits took advantage of them till now by promising them the moon and applying "use and throw" policy.
"Nobody would dare to even dream of using Sikhs and the Punjabi community as political tools for vote bank purposes," Badal said.
Updated Date: May 02, 2016 22:42 PM