New Delhi: A day before nomination for the Delhi Assembly polls ends, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) said Monday it will not contest the elections as it was asked by its ally BJP to change its stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which it has vehemently refused.
The SAD has following in many Sikh-dominated seats like Kalkaji, Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar and Rajouri Garden in the city.
Addressing a press conference here, SAD leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said during three poll-related meetings with the BJP, his party was asked to consider its stand on the CAA.
“During our meeting with the BJP, we were asked to reconsider our stand on the CAA but we declined to do so. The Shiromani Akali Dal is of the firm stand that Muslims cannot be left out of the CAA,” Sirsa said.
Sirsa though a SAD leader had contested the 2017 bypoll from the Rajouri Garden seat on the BJP symbol and won. He said his party is also ‘strongly’ against the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, commenting on the development, said it is the SAD’s stand not to contest the elections.
“The Akali Dal is one of our oldest allies. It has also supported us in Parliament over the citizenship Law. If they do not want to contest elections, it is their stand,” Tiwari said.
Sirsa declined that his party’s decision was prompted by non- acceptance of their seat sharing formula by the BJP.
The SAD or Akali Dal had been traditionally fighting on four of the 70 seats – Shahdara, Kalkaji, Rajouri Garden and Hari Nagar – in the Delhi Assembly polls in alliance with the BJP. In 2013 SAD had won three of the four seats, but failed to win even one seat in the 2015 Assembly elections.
“The problem is the CAA, not the number of seats. We are not against the CAA but our stand is that Muslims should be part of it,” Sirsa said. “Our alliance with the BJP is based on brotherhood. The alliance brought peace and progress in Punjab. With this stand, the alliance is not breaking though,” Sirsa added.