The Supreme Court’s direction on Thursday to maintain status quo in the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) row has come as a major relief to the Patiala unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as senior leaders who were to campaign for the party in the Patiala Urban bypoll began leaving Kurukshetra.
Senior SAD leaders including former minister Hira Singh Gabria, Deepinder Singh Dhillon, Anandpur member of Parliament (MP) Prem Singh Chandumajra, who were campaigning for Patiala candidate Bhagwan Das Juneja for several days, had rushed to Kurukshetra on Wednesday evening on the direction of the party’s high command. This paralysed Juneja’s campaign.
On Thursday, in the absence of these leaders, minister of state for finance Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Sangrur MLA Prakash Chand Garg and Amargarh MLA Iqbal Singh Jhunda took charge of the canvassing. Chief parliamentary secretary NK Sharma and cabinet minister Sohan Singh Thandal also held several meetings in many areas.
Meanwhile, with the senior leaders expected to be back in the city by Friday, as the situation in Kurukshetra eased following the apex court’s direction, the Akali Dal’s bypoll campaign is expected to get a boost.
However, Patiala campaign in charge and SAD spokesperson Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema will remain absent till August 13 due to a scheduled visit to Canada to attend a private function.
SAD candidate Bhagwan Das Juneja said that though some senior leaders went to Kurukshetra, other cabinet ministers and senior leaders filled in and launched a massive campaign in his favour.
“The senior leaders who were camping in Haryana will join the campaign from Friday. While planning the campaign, we made provisions for timely crisis management,” said Juneja.
Meanwhile, Thandal and NK Sharma held a meeting with municipal councillors and the team deputed in their wards to assess the campaign and further boost it.
“We have stressed on micro-level planning and the necessity to reach out to every voter in the constituency. The leaders were also told to adopt door-to-door campaign,” said Thandal.
Inaugurating the party office at Sanouri Adda here, Dhindsa said, “This time, people will not overlook the royal family’s ‘non-performance’.”