Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), India’s second oldest party, announced that it would contest elections in Haryana independently in 2019. Party president Sukhbir Singh Badal made this announcement at a rally in Pipli where SAD held major rally. In preparation for the upcoming elections, Badal made several campaign promises including free electricity for the Dalit community and the farmers.
In the past the party had tied up with Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana. However, is 2016 this partnership was ended when SAD claimed it was not being given its due and were given few assembly seats. They also disagreed on water sharing between Haryana and Punjab with regards to the Satluj-Yamuna link (SYL) canal.
Starting its election campaign in Pipli, Kurukshetra, the party claimed this would be a major event in the politics of Haryana. Certain of its victory, the leaders of the party were confident they would not need to ally with any other to win in the state. Leaders of the party in Haryana have been urged to mobilize the party’s workers for the state elections. Observers were also appointed in the state.
Urging Sikhs and Punjabis around the country to unite with the Akali Dal, Badal also announced his party’s intention to contest the next elections in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Badal said that if all the Sikhs and Punjabis across the country united under the banner of Akali Dal they would be victorious. Proclaiming the positive changes SAD had made in Punjab, Badal said that they would now write a new history in Haryana.
Despite their decision to separate from INLD in Haryana, Sukhbir Singh Badal did not criticize either them or the center ruling BJP. While they are not openly allying with either of these parties, some leaders did hint towards a post-poll alliance with BJP.
The elections for 90 Vidhan Sabha seats will be held around February or March 2019. As these are a substantial number it will have a major impact in the upcoming general elections.