BJP on Saturday said it was making all efforts to fight the Delhi Assembly election unitedly with its "natural ally" — Shromani Akali Dal — to defeat the Congress government and asserted that the party does not want the alliance to break at "any cost".
BJP's initiative to salvage the alliance came in the backdrop of Delhi unit of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) announcing to contest 16 seats on its own in the December 4 assembly polls while breaking away from one of its oldest allies.
"We have been working in close coordination with them and I would never like the alliance to be broken at any cost. This is the view of the party also. Efforts are on and I expect the results to be positive," BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan said.
The core committee of Delhi unit of SAD (Badal) on October 22 had unanimously passed a resolution on going it alone and sent a letter to the party president Sukhbir Singh Badal to take a call on the issue.
Describing the SAD (Badal) as a natural ally of the BJP, Vardhan said he was confident that the relationship will continue and that both parties will work with the sole aim of defeating the Congress in the polls.
"For the last so many years we have always had alliance with Akali Dal. They are our natural allies. Our alliance with the party is yet not over. The final thing has yet not emerged," he told PTI in an interview.
In the last assembly polls in Delhi in 2008, SAD Delhi had contested from four constituencies in alliance with BJP but lost all the seats.
Vardhan agreed that both the parties have so far not sorted out the issue of seat-sharing but said he was optimistic about a positive outcome.
The SAD has been a key constituent of the NDA.
The BJP-SAD alliance has shared power in Punjab for three terms, with the first one in 1997 assembly polls and then in 2007 and again in 2012.
Sources in Delhi BJP said it was not ready to give the Akali Dal more than three seats while the former has been seeking more than the four seats it got the last time.
Among the seats that the Akali Dal has identified for contesting alone included Moti Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar, Janakpuri Madipur and Nangloi in West Delhi and Shakur Basti, Adarsh Nagar and Timarpur in north Delhi.
In areas across the Yamuna, the party has said that it wishes to contest from Shahdara, Krishan Nagar and Rohtash Nagar, besides South Delhi constituencies greater Kailash and Kalkaji, besides Rajinder Nagar in Central Delhi.
SAD leaders said they are very keen on getting the Tilak Nagar seat which has substantial Sikh population.
Tilak Nagar has been represented by BJP's O P Babber for the last 20 years.
On Rajouri Garden seat, SAD argues that it must get the constituency as it had lost the contest by less than hundred votes in the 2008 assembly election.
The sources in Delhi BJP said it had already sent out clear signals that it will not give in to SAD's demand.
The party feels SAD will never contest the election alone and the announcement to fight the polls in 16 seats was to put pressure on BJP to get more seats.
"The issue will be taken up by the central leadership following which a final decision will be taken," said a senior BJP leader.