iconimg Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Rajeev Bhaskar, Hindustan Times
Jalandhar, August 20, 2013
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal is all set to get re-elected as president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as all district units of the party have given the party high command the rights to nominate the state delegates instead of electing these delegates.
The process of organisational election, which began on August 1 to elect the district- and state-level delegates, concluded with a meeting of a handful of local party leaders, who decided to give the rights to nominate the delegates to the party high command.

District president (urban) Gurcharan Singh Channi said, "We have given all rights to nominate the delegates to the party high command and within a couple of days, an envelope carrying the names of the nominated delegates would reach us."

When asked whether he gave the rights to party president Sukhbir Badal to decide the delegates, Channi said, "I don't know who will decide the delegates. We have just sent the letter of authorisation to the party office in Chandigarh."

"There are eight state-level delegates to be nominated from Jalandhar (urban) and 22 from rural areas," Channi said.

In Nawanshahr, SAD district general secretary Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa said, "As per instructions from senior leaders, the letter of authorisation for the nomination of state-level delegates was sent well in time."

He said, "I am a veteran Akali and it is normal practice to extend all rights for nomination of party delegates to the party high command, so that the president could be elected in a unanimous manner."

District president of Hoshiarpur unit of SAD, Surinder Singh Bhulewal Rathan, said it was up to the party high command to nominate the state-level delegates as all rights for the same had already been extended in writing.

A senior SAD leader said such a practice did not create fissures among the local leadership as the decision of the high command was accepted unanimously.

Interestingly, on July 17, SAD secretary and spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema had announced that the process for electing the new organisational structure would start from August 1.

He had even announced that meetings for the election of circle- and district-level delegates as well as the election of the state delegates would be held in all districts between August 1 and 10 and a general delegate session to elect the party president and other office-bearers would be held on August 30.