In what could be a big blow for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday announced that his party would contest the 2019 parliamentary elections in Haryana independently. Badal, the former deputy minister of Punjab was addressing a rally in Kurukshetra's Pipli town and urged all Punjabis to unite under the flag of the SAD to script a new history in Haryana.
"Shiromani Akali Dal will contest the 2019 elections independently in Haryana and emerge victoriously," the SAD president said.
"We have promised and delivered in Punjab. Now, we are ready to take up the responsibility of working for the welfare of the people of Haryana. I appeal to Punjabis to unite under the flag of SAD to script a new history in Haryana. No one can stop you from acquiring power once you unite as one with the SAD," Badal added.
Shiromani Akali Dal will contest the 2019 elections independently in Haryana and emerge victorious: Sukhbir Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal President in Kurukshetra, Haryana pic.twitter.com/oXdMwZ5feL— ANI (@ANI) August 19, 2018
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Former Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia and Haryana in-charge Balwinder Singh Bhunder were also present in the rally, which was organised to strengthen Sikh vote bank in and around Kurukshetra.
With the 2019 Parliamentary elections just a few months away, the SAD has also promised to provide free electricity to the agriculture sector, 400 units of free power per month to Dalits and free piped irrigation water in Haryana if voted to power.
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Earlier, SAD forged an alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and used to contest elections in Haryana together. The parties, however, have parted ways a few months back. The Sukhbir Singh party is also part of BJP led NDA, which formed the previous Punjab government in partnership between 2012 and 2017.