BJP's Haryana Ally Dushyant Chautala Says Won't Contest Delhi Polls

Delhi Election 2020: 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

BJP's Haryana Ally Dushyant Chautala Says Won't Contest Delhi Polls

JJP chief Dushyant Chautala confirmed his party would not contest Delhi election with the BJP

New Delhi:

Dushyant Chautala, whose Jannayak Janta Party helped the BJP to just about retain power in Haryana in assembly elections last year, will not contest 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 said the JJP was unwilling to fight "on a new symbol at such short notice".

"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," a tweet by 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.

The JJP, which won 10 seats in the Haryana Assembly election, struck a post-poll deal with the BJP that also saw Dushyant Chautala become Deputy Chief Minister. The BJP, which claimed 40 seats, needed six more to retain power in the state.

The tie-up between the JJP and the BJP was criticised by the Congress, which had also banked on Mr Chautala's support to cross the majority mark and form the government.

The Jannayak Janta Party is the second party, in as many days, to say it will not contest polls in Delhi.

Late last night the Shiromani Akali Dal, which is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the centre, said disagreements over seat-sharing meant they too would not field candidates.

The Akalis indicated election symbols played a role in their decision as well and said their refusal to accept the citizenship law, in its present form, and the NRC was also a factor.

The BJP has chosen to contest 67 of the Delhi's Assembly 70 seats on its own and has looked to its NDA 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).

However, earlier today a senior JDU leader questioned his party's tie-up with the BJP. Pavan K Varma. wrote to Mr Kumar asking for "ideological clarity" and said he was "deeply perplexed" by the tie-up amid the citizenship law protests.

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.

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