Call it the threat of exodus or an effort to retain workers, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is likely to ask the ticket contenders in the panchayat and zila parishad elections for affidavit that they won't dessert the party and create indiscipline.
Aspiring candidates should also mention on the affidavit that they are aware of the party's rules and agenda. If senior leaders in the party are to be believed, they had recommended this measure, to not only make the right choice of candidates but also test their knowledge of the party's policies. "It will help us perform well in the rural elections and strengthen cadre at the grass-roots level," said a senior Akali leader.
The contenders also will have to agree to contest as a team and prevent factionalism at the village level. On the need for a rule such as this, one of Akali leaders said that often after winning election on the SAD ticket, members of the block samitis, zila parishads and panchayats, including sarpanches, caused indiscipline to hurt party's image. "The discipline clause will remain after the elections as well," he added. "The candidates will have to agree to accept whatever consequences there might be of violating any clause."
SAD general secretary Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who is also member of the Rajya Sabha, said the idea of seeking affidavit was yet to be finalised but the party indeed will give ticket to only the candidates who were more disciplined and honest. "The party cannot throw any worker out on the basis of affidavit only," said Dhindsa. "Any affidavit won't have any meaning for workers looking to leave the party anyway."
Only those candidates who put the development of their respective villages first would get ticket, the MP added.