Dushyant Chautala’s JJP Says No To BJP’s Delhi Poll Offer

Jan Janayak Party chief Dushyant Chautala, whose party helped the BJP to just about retain power in Haryana after October’s Assembly elections, has become the second ally of the party to back out of elections in Delhi next month. Addressing a press conference this evening Mr Chautala confirmed his party would not field candidates “since symbol is a very important issue” and the JJP was unwilling to fight “on a new symbol at such short notice”.
Mr Chautala’s comment comes less than 24 hours after another BJP ally – the Shiromani Akali Dal – said disagreements over seat-sharing; the Akalis had indicated election symbols played a role in their decision as well. They also said their refusal to accept the citizenship law, in its present form, and the NRC was a factor in the decision.
“We won’t field candidates in Delhi polls, since symbol is a very important issue. We had requested Election Commission to give key or slippers as symbol… these were given to another organisation. In such a situation, JJP has decided not to contest,” the JJP said.
On the controversial citizenship law the JJP said “whosoever has read the new law” would not believe citizenship was being taken away from any individual – a stand repeated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah at a pro-CAA rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow today.
Late last night the Shiromani Akali Dal cited “core principles” regarding the citizenship law and the NRC that it could not compromise.
“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,” Delhi SAD chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa said.
Last month another Akali Dal leader – Naresh Gujral, a Rajya Sabha MP, told NDTV: “We feel the Muslim community should be included in the citizenship law” and warned the BJP that several of its NDA allies were unhappy.
Earlier today yet another of the BJP’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies appeared to wobble on the edges of an exit from a tie-up in Delhi elections.
Senior JDU leader Pavan K Varma confronted Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over the party’s alliance with the BJP. The JDU, in alliance with the BJP for the first time in Delhi, will contest two seats in the February 8 election.
The BJP has chosen to contest 67 of the Delhi’s Assembly 70 seats on its own and has looked to its NDA (National Democratic Alliance) allies to fill the others; yesterday evening Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said the party had offered tickets to Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU).
The citizenship law, which makes religion a criterion for Indian citizenship, says non-Muslim minorities from Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan can become citizens easily if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015. Critics believe the CAA, along with the NRC or citizen’s list, will be used to target Muslims.
Voting for Delhi election will take place February 8 and results will be declared three days later.