SEASONED politicians from the BJP and Akali Dal want the two long-time friends to come together again. But, for now, this seems in suspended animation.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, while the SAD is trying to bank on youth to revive its political fortunes, the BJP is counting on Central schemes to strike a chord in the rural belt, a segment the saffron party had once left for its former ally to take care of.
On November 14, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal launched a ‘Global Youth Membership Drive’ under the aegis of the “Punjab di shaan, saade naujawan (Our youth the pride of Punjab)”. As part of the drive, the SAD aims to give 50% party posts to youth aged 35 or below at the district level, and 40 years or below at the state level, apart from giving them “appropriate” electoral representation.
Youth Akali Dal president Sarabjeet Singh Jhinjer told The Indian Express, “Within 24 hours of the launch of our drive, as many as 12,433 people enrolled as members.” He added that by November 20, around 32,000 people had enrolled for the drive, where anyone joining the organisation needs to give details like the constituency they live in, their phone numbers and a declaration that they aren’t facing any criminal cases.