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SAD-BSP alliance in Punjab: Farm-laws wound is too raw and Dalit disaffection too deep

The SAD is reeling from the Jat-Sikh anger against the new farm laws and, despite a third of Punjab’s population being Dalit, it has been 25 years since the BSP turned out a creditable electoral performance in the state. Given this scenario, the new SAD-BSP alliance has its work cut out, writes Ronki Ram

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is a Sikh heritage political party of Punjab. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the newly announced alliance partner of SAD, also originated in Punjab, where Dalits comprise a third of its population, but it blossomed in Uttar Pradesh. Both SAD and BSP are currently entangled in adverse political circumstances. The SAD is finding it difficult to maintain its heritage status. Despite being a party of the Sikhs, it is now suffering the consequences of not defending the interests of its core support base, the farmers of the state who are mostly Jat Sikhs. On the other hand, the BSP has been experiencing an existential crisis in its birthplace for some time.

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About The Author

Ronki Ram

Ronki Ram is the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Professor of Political Science at Panjab University, Chandigarh. He is also a visiting professor at the Centre of Sikh and Panjabi Studies in the University of Wolverhampton, UK. Among the books he has authored or edited are ‘Dalit Pachhan, Mukti atey Shaktikaran’ (Dalit Identity, Emancipation and Empowerment. Patiala: Punjabi University Publication Bureau, 2012), ‘Dalit Chetna: Sarot te Saruup (Dalit Consciousness: Sources and Form; Chandigarh: Lokgeet Prakashan, 2010) and ‘Globalization and the Politics of Identity in India’, Delhi: Pearson Longman, 2008 (edited with Bhupinder Brar and Ashutosh Kumar). Ram has been a professor of Contemporary India Studies at Leiden University in Leiden, the Netherlands. He holds a PhD in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University and a post-doctoral fellowship in Peace and Conflict Resolution from Uppsala University, Sweden.

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