Union Minister and BJP Punjab Election Officer Gajendra Singh Shekhawat held a luncheon on Tuesday with former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, fueling speculation that both sides were on the point of finalizing an alliance for the next elections of the Assembly, even as the leader of the BJP of Punjab Ashwani Sharma affirmed that his party was preparing to fight on the 117 seats.
Both camps were discreet about the meeting. Capt Amarinder’s aides pointed out that this was a one-on-one meeting, hinting that they were discussing the outlines of an alliance.
This is Capt Amarinder’s first meeting with a BJP leader after meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Secretary Amit Shah after stepping down as CM.
After quitting the Congress Party, Capt Amarinder launched his outfit, the Punjab Lok Congress Party.
Ashwani Sharma, however, refrained from commenting on the seat-sharing agreements or an alliance between the BJP and the Punjab Lok Congress Party. Speaking to the media before inducting some people into the BJP, Sharma insisted her mandate was to fight the state assembly’s 117-seat elections.
âAs state president of the party, my job now is to prepare my party to fight for the 117 seats. However, there are various other sections of the party that are also working towards the elections and that includes the parliamentary council, âhe said when asked about Shekhawat’s meeting with Captain Amarinder.
Sharma said the BJP was not the party of anyone from any family. âWe have central management, we have a parliamentary council, a state unit. We also exchange our points of view. For now, our job is to prepare the 117 seats, âhe said.
Shekhwat’s meeting with Capt Amarinder comes just days after Amit Shah said talks were continuing to forge an alliance with the party of Capt Amarinder and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
The former Congressional CM has also said on several occasions that he will link up with the BJP for the Punjab Assembly elections slated for early 2022. He also echoed this during the inauguration of the office of his party in Chandigarh on Monday.
When asked how the BJP could think of making this alliance when the party criticizes Congress for doing nothing in its four-and-a-half-year rule with Amarinder in charge, Sharma said the promises of the poll had been done in the name of Congress and not of an individual. âThe person is not important. It can be the face. But the commitment is made by the party. The manifesto was published by Rahul Gandhi. If anyone has deceived the people of Punjab, it is the Congress and its leaders, âhe said.
Sharma also attacked the President of the Punjab Congress, Navjot Singh Sidhu, and CM Charanjit Singh Channi for seeking a trade corridor with Pakistan. âManish Tewari opposes trade with Pakistan. This means that there is a difference of opinion within Congress. The Pakistani love of Sidhu is well known. He is more interested in hugging Pakistani leaders. Do he and Channi see the sacrifices that Punjab soldiers make against Pakistan every day when they return home wrapped in the tricolor, âhe asked.
He said earlier that the Punjab needed “twin-engine” growth with a BJP government in the center as well as in the state. âWe will not publish a simple manifesto. We will issue a sankalp patra (an oath) to ensure that any promises we make to the people of the state will be kept. “