Ex-Punjab State Chief Announces His Own Party Ahead of Crucial Assembly Polls
17:33 GMT 27.10.2021 (Updated: 19:51 GMT 31.10.2022)
Assembly elections in the Indian state of Punjab are scheduled for early 2022. The Congress party won the last elections by securing 77 assembly seats out of 117, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged as the main opposition by winning 20 seats. The country’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won only three seats.
Just a few months ahead of crucial assembly polls in Punjab, former state chief Captain Amarinder Singh
announced on Wednesday that he would form a new political party in the state and contest in all 117 assembly seats.
The ousted state chief said that he had applied for a party name and a symbol with the Election Commission of India (ECI), but the process is yet to be finalised.
Speaking about a potential alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Singh said that his party will provide "issue-based" support and look for a seat-sharing arrangement.
"I never said that I will align with the BJP. All I said was that I, my party, will look for a seat-sharing agreement", he said during a virtual press conference. He reiterated his statement from last month on aligning with likeminded parties and added that he would try to put together a "united front" to defeat "Akalis, Aam Aadmi Party, and Congress".
During the press conference, Singh also highlighted his achievements as state chief and claimed that over the last 4.5 years, he had finished 92 percent of what he promised while campaigning during previous assembly elections.
Singh had to resign as state chief after a dramatic rebellion by Congress leaders in the state who had been critical of him for allegedly not acting on the pre-poll promises that propelled the party to victory in the state. He was replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi.
“There will be a huge impact if Singh forms an alliance with the BJP on [a] seat-sharing basis. This is because the BJP has a vote bank or support base which is quite substantive, but since they are not in a winning position in Punjab and normally a Sikh becomes the state chief, BJP’s vote bank shifts towards Shiromani Akali Dal”, Delhi-based political expert Desh Ratan Nigam said.
“But this time, if Singh’s new party and the BJP enter into a tie-up, then the vote bank of Captain Amarinder Singh plus the vote bank of the BJP will alter the situation on the ground. Therefore, we can expect a significant impact in the state”, he added.