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Akali-BJP panel to look into swapping of LS seats 

Chandigarh: The Akali Dal leadership reportedly took up the issue of swapping parliamentary seats with national BJP president Amit Shah during his visit to the city on Thursday.Sources say the issue concerns two seats — Ludhiana to be contested by the BJP and Amritsar by the Akali Dal. They say a six-member coordination committee of Akali and state BJP leaders will be formed soon to sort out the matter.During a closed-door meeting with Shah, Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and party president Sukhbir Badal raised several issues concerning the Sikh community as well as farmers, which had been “ignored” by the BJP since it stormed to power at the Centre in 2014.Shah was on a visit to Chandigarh as part of his strategy to reach out to the alliance partners of the BJP, as the NDA gears up for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Over 25 top leaders and MPs from both Akali Dal and the BJP were present in the meeting that lasted almost three hours.Initially, Shah had a closed-door meeting with the Badals. Though the two Akali leaders are learnt to have assured Shah that they were natural allies of the BJP, they are also learnt to have sought his intervention to resolve issues, which would help the alliance partners regain faith of the Sikh community and the state farmers.The father-son duo is also learnt to have discussed the issue of providing justice to the perpetrators of the 1984 riots, the issue of blacklist of Sikhs, need for having more recruitments in the armed forces from Punjab, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report and monetary relief for Punjab farmers. The Akali Dal also insisted that the fuel be brought under the ambit of GST so that the prices of both petrol and diesel are brought down. It was reportedly decided that a delegation led by Sukhbir will meet PM Narendra Modi on Friday to list out what exactly they want the government to do.

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