In the run up to the assembly polls in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday (12 June) announced that it has formed an alliance with the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the elections slated to be held in early 2022.
The alliance comes 27 years after the 1996 Lok Sabha elections when both had bagged 11 out of 13 seats in Punjab.
SAD President Sukhbir Badal said the BSP will contest in 20 out of the 117 seats, whereas his party will contest the remaining seats.
The BSP has a considerable hold over the 31 per cent Dalit votes in the state. The concentration of these votes is mainly on 23 seats in the Doaba region.
Describing it as a historic day, BSP MP Satish Mishra said the alliance has been formed with the Shiromani Akali Dal, Punjab's biggest party.
"In 1996, both BSP and SAD jointly fought Lok Sabha polls and emerged victorious on 11 of 13 seats. This time the alliance will not be broken," he said.
"We will work to end corruption and scams under Congress' leadership. The current government is anti-Dalits and anti-farmers while we will work for everyone's welfare and development," he added.
Earlier, the BJP used to contest 23 seats in Punjab in alliance with SAD. The Akali Dal-BJP alliance had came to power in 2007 before being ousted by the Congress in 2017 by winning an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats.
SAD had broken ties with the BJP last year over the Centre's contentious farm laws.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)