In another setback for BJP over alliance with its partners in state politics after Maharashtra and Jharkhand, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of Punjab, BJP’s long-standing ally on Monday has decided to stay away from the Delhi Assembly election rather than contesting with BJP.

The decision was taken by SAD to withhold its stand on contentious CAA and NRC, as they opposed nationwide NRC and seek revision in CAA adding Muslims with the other six religions who were given the ease to get Indian Citizenship.

The talks between the two allies were on from the last two days to convince each other on contentious issues.

“Akali Dal has been in an alliance with the BJP for a long time. But, over the past few days, after Sukhbir Badal took a stand on CAA, The BJP repeatedly said we should reconsider our stand. But SAD has clearly stated there can be no re-think on this,” said Delhi Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa.

“Our stand is clear, the nation can’t be divided over religion. We will prefer not contesting polls rather than changing our stand,” he added.

“The SAD believes that the NRC should not be implemented, We welcome the CAA but we never demanded that any religion be excluded from this act,” Akali leader said.

In order to crack a deal, BJP offered SAD three seats but it refused to climb down from its position on the CAA and NRC, sources told IANS.

As per the reports, another issue between the BJP and SAD was over the contesting of election under a single symbol. BJP wanted the Akali leaders to contest under Lotus symbol instead of SAD’s weighing scales. Akali leaders were not ready for this agreement.

SAD is very crucial for BJP for the Delhi Assembly election as Delhi has 4.43 per cent of Sikhs. The Sikh community has quite an influence in the national capital which is very crucial for the polls.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that BJP had earmarked two seats for Janata Dal-United and one seat for Lok Janshakti Party, but the seats for SAD were not ascertained.

Delhi will go to polls on February 8 and the counting of votes with declaration of results will be done on February 11.