As the saying goes, there are no permanent friends and permanent enemies in politics, likewise ‘all is well’ with Akalis when it comes to winning election in Punjab. Apprehensive over the trend of changing ruling parties in the state every election, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is open to join hands with any non-Congress parties in the upcoming 2012 Assembly elections in Punjab.

In an effort to retain its stronghold and beat its strong contender Congress in the 2012 polls, SAD is all set to tie-up with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which is the most palpable political faction after its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Insecure over the continuous decline in the political image of the BJP unit in the state with incidents like resignation of all the five BJP ministers in recent past, the Akalis is not ready to take any chance that would benefit its Opposition in the upcoming polls.

However, Akali and BJP cannot part ways as they need each other for ascending to power.

Over the years, BSP has lost considerable ground in Punjab. But it will still be a distinguishing factor in the Assembly elections with the highest share of 29 percent of Scheduled Caste population of the country living in Punjab. Moreover, Kanshi Ram, the founder of BSP belongs to the state.

On several occasions, both BJP and BSP had maintained their positions to not form any alliance even if they have to sit in the Opposition in Uttar Pradesh.

As per the result of last State Assembly elections in 2007, of the total 117 assembly constituencies that went to polls, SAD won 49 seats with 37.09 percent of the vote (having contested only 93 seats) while its partner BJP won 19 seats with 8.28 percent of the vote (having contested only 23 seats), making a total of 68 seats. Congress managed to win 44 seats with 40.90 percent while the share of BSP was just 4.13 percent of the total vote.

Contradictory in the 2009 General Elections, Congress easily triumphed over the SAD-BJP combine by getting 8 seats of the total 13 seats, while SAD managed 4 and BJP could win only 1 seat with the lone victory of former cricketer and BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu.

The changing political scenario in the state and emerging setbacks in the political equation of SAD-BJP alliance are the matters of serious concern for the Akalis as well as the saffron party in the state.

Moreover, the changing equation raises many questions on the BJP’s political fortunes in Punjab, the electoral prospects of the Akali-BJP alliance and impact of SAD-BSP alliance in the politics of Punjab.

JPN