Prime Minister Narendra Modi will sound the poll bugle for the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab when he addresses a rally early next month. Sources said that the BJP, which has signed an electoral pact with former CM Amarinder Singh's party Punjab Lok Congress, will get the lion's share of seats to contest.
The saffron party, which has so far contested elections in Punjab with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), will contest 70 of the 117 Assembly seats. Amarinder's party could be given 30-35 seats while the remaining will be given to Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa's Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).
Notably, the BJP has so far contested a maximum of 23 seats in Punjab. This would be the first election when the saffron party entered the electoral race without the SAD. The party is eyeing seats that have the majority of Hindu and Dalit voters.
The party has also coined a new slogan -- 'Nawa Punjab BJP De Naal' (New Punjab with BJP). The BJP is hopeful of a change in its fortune in the state as the Modi government last month repealed the three farm laws that were at the centre of protests by farmers for over a year. The party believes that people of Punjab want a change and it could emerge as an alternative with "Captain on its ship".
Although a formal seat-sharing pact is yet to be announced, sources said that the BJP and Punjab Lok Congress have reached a consensus on the distribution of seats.
Captain Amarinder Singh is a seasoned player of Punjab politics. After being in power twice, Captain understands the ground-level politics of all three regions Malwa, Majha and Doaba. He also knows the loopholes of Congress and where the party was weak in the last elections. Captain also has an idea of the weakness of SAD.
Last week, Amarinder Singh had met Union Minister and Punjab BJP in charge Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in Delhi. It is believed that the two leaders discussed the issue of seat-sharing formula.
Punjab and four other states (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur) are slated to go to the polls early next year. In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority, bagging 77 seats. The SAD-BJP alliance had won 18 seats while the Aam Aadmi Party secured 20 seats, thus becoming the principal Opposition party in the Legislative Assembly.