BJP chief meets top SAD leaders in Chandigarh

Chandigarh, June 7 (IANS) BJP President Amit Shah arrived here on Thursday afternoon and held a closed-door meeting with the top Shiromani Akali Dal leadership.

Shah met Akali Dal patron and five-time Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and party President Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The meeting was held as part of Shah’s initiative to connect with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJPs) allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Shah had met NDA ally and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackerey in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Sukhbir Badal’s wife, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, is the Union Minister for Food Processing in the Narendra Modi government.

The alliance of the two parties did not do too well in the Punjab Assembly elections early last year. They also did not fare well in the Lok Sabha polls in April-May 2014 despite a clear Modi wave in most other states in north India.

The Akali Dal-BJP alliance in Punjab, which has been there for over three decades, was relegated to the third spot in the 2017 Assembly polls.

New entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) got 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly and became the principal opposition party.

The Congress, which was out of power in Punjab for a decade (2007-2017), during which period the Akali Dal-BJP alliance ruled Punjab, got 77 seats in the Assembly (the Congress tally increased to 78 after win in Shahkot by-election last month, giving the party a two third majority in the house).

Out of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, the Akali Dal-BJP combine holds five (four Akali Dal; one of BJP), while the Congress has four seats and AAP another four.

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