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In a huge setback for the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) days before the Delhi elections, party's allies - Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) and Shiromani Akali Dal, have backed out of the polls.
Addressing a press conference, JJP chief Dushyant Chautala confirmed that his party would not field candidates "since the symbol is a very important issue" and the JJP was unwilling to fight "on a new symbol at such short notice".
The Shiromani Akali Dal stated that it will not contest the upcoming polls due to differences with the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).
Explaining the Shiromani Akali Dal's decision, leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that the party's decision to not accept the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in its present form and the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) were also deciding factors.
Sirsa said that NRC should not be implemented, adding that, "Shiromani Akali Dal also believes that the National Register of Citizens should not be implemented. We welcomed CAA but we never demanded that any religion be excluded from this act."
The JJP also claimed, "whosoever has read the new law" would not believe citizenship was being taken away from any individual.
M Sirsa: SAD and BJP have an old relationship, but after stand by Sukhbir Badal ji on #CAA which was to include ppl from all religions, BJP leadership wanted us to reconsider this stand. So, we decided to not fight these polls instead of changing our stand. #DelhiElections2020 pic.twitter.com/eWfR7lViLI— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
Addressing a press conference in Delhi on January 20, Delhi Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said, "while the party welcomed CAA, we never pitched for anyone to be excluded."
"Excluding someone on the basis of religion was wrong," added Sirsa.
Asserting that his party had "core principles" that could not be compromised, Sirsa said, "Our stand is clear... the nation can't be divided over religion. We will prefer not contesting polls rather than changing our stand. NRC should also not be introduced... the nation belongs to all."
Disagreements between the Akali Dal and the BJP started last month after Naresh Gujral, the SAD's Rajya Sabha MP, told NDTV: "We feel the Muslim community should be included in the citizenship law."
Rajyasabha MP and SAD Delhi Incharge Balwinder Singh Bhunder said that though there is are chances that the alliance might break, the parties are still in talks regarding the same.
"It's not over as of now. We are still negotiating. Talks are on," added Bhunder.
Elections are scheduled for February 8 and the results for February 11. While 57 election tickets have been announced, and three pegged for allies JD(U) and LJP, ten seats remain unannounced from the BJP's end.
Senior BJP leaders are of the view that breaking alliance with Akali in Delhi will have political repercussions for its alliance in Punjab as well.
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