New Delhi: The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), former Congress leader Amarinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) will together contest Punjab assembly polls to be held next year.The official announcement was made by Union Minister and BJP election in-charge for Punjab, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat after an hour-long meeting among leaders of all the three parties at Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s official residence here.BJP chief J.P. Nadda, Punjab Lok Congress chief Amarinder Singh and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) chief Dhindsa and Shekhawat were present in the meeting. “As hinted by the BJP central leadership and Singh that the three will contest the upcoming Punjab elections together. Today chiefs of all the three parties held a meeting after which we are officially announcing that three parties will contest the assembly polls together,” Shekhawat said.
He also said that a six member committee, two each from three parties will decide the seat sharing formula. “Names of committee members will be finalised today. The committee will meet in a day or two to finalise the seat sharing formula,” he said.Three parties will also make a common manifesto. “Issues concerning Punjab, Sikhs, agriculture and OBC will be discussed in detail and a joint manifesto will be made. The alliance will work to build a new Punjab by restoring the past prosperity of the state,” Shekhawat said.On December 17, the BJP and former chief minister Amarinder Singh had announced to fight the forthcoming assembly elections together. “Our alliance is confirmed. Only seat-sharing talks are going on. We will see who will contest which seat and winnability is the sole criteria for deciding seats. Where BJP will contest, we will support them and they will support us on the seats we will be contesting. We are prepared and are 101 per cent sure of winning the elections. We are not in contest with anyone,” Amarinder Singh had said.Punjab elections will be held in February-March next year along with Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. Earlier after its alliance broke up with its oldest alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the BJP has announced to contest all the 117 assembly seats in Punjab. In 2017, BJP won three seats out of 23 it contested.