INSIDE STORY: Is a BJP-Akali Dal alliance likely to happen again in Punjab?
A coalition between the BJP and Akali Dal could benefit the parties in the fight against Congress and AAP general elections this year, but how likely is it?-
Lok Sabha elections are just around the corner all the political parties are in high gear in preparations. The scene in Punjab seems to favor of the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress with BJP and Akali-Dal on the backfoot according to the latest India Today’s Mood of the Nation (MOTN) survey. It will likely be a resounding victory for either Congress or AAP in the upcoming elections due to dismal voter affinity for the BJP and Akali Dal. However the situation could change if BJP and Akalis decide on a coalition as in the 2019 elections. But how likely is it? According to our sources, it is not outside the realm of possibility. Here is an inside ‘scoop’, that explains the matter.
According to sources, the head a big and reputed media outlet is trying to push for a BJP-Akali Dal alliance behind closed doors. The owner reportedly had been facing trouble due to some conflicts with the AAP-led government. The said owner is reportedly in good relations with BJP High-command personnel as well. BJP however, is likely to be against the coalition as Akali Dal may have enjoyed affinity from the rural constituencies of Punjab in the past, but the situation has changed in the state according to political experts. The Akali Dal no longer holds the same influence as it did in 2019.
Sources also inform that there are a few former senior BJP leaders who are also likely to be pushing for an alliance due to personal agendas. Most notably, one BJP senior leader, who has been rumoured to be close associate of the Badal family, has been trying to get the works on a coalition going, as per our sources. Sources also inform us that these leaders believe that aid of Akali Dal in Punjab is necessary for victory in the more constituencies than which the BJP currently contests in.
Out of a total of 117 constituencies in Punjab, BJP has a noticeable impact in only 28-29 of them which are all urban-based. Akali-Dal holds more prominence in the rural based constituencies. Out of the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies, BJP has been consistently contesting for 3 of the seats in every election which are Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Amritsar. Amritsar has been a coveted throne for the grand old party as they have continuously suffered defeat there ever since Navjot Sidhu’s 3 consecutive victories in the general elections.
According to the recent survey however, BJP and Akali Dal are rumoured likely to struggle in the upcoming elections as BJP was projected to win only 2 seats. Akali Dal is also facing a largely reduced voter affinity with a mere 14% approval rating as compared to 27% in 2019. Meanwhile, BJP’s approval has doubled with 16% this year from the 9% last elections. Realistically, the chance for a victory lies in a coalition between the BJP and Akali Dal, however BJP might be reluctant to do so in light of Akali Dal’s drop in the approval ratings. Whether they will join hands in the fight against Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party however remains to be seen.