With block samiti and zila parishad elections near, the Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday dethroned three-time former minister Gobind Singh Kanjla as its man in charge of Mehal Kalan constituency in Barnala district on the grounds of indiscipline.
SAD general secretary Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, member of the Rajya Sabha and party's man in charge of Barnala district, confirmed that Kanjla had been removed from the post. Once a protégé of SAD (Longowal) president Surjit Singh Barnala, Kanjla, was at loggerheads with Dhindsa over ticket distribution in the elections coming up on May 19. "Kanjla was sacked after he distributed ticket in his constituency on his own without consulting senior leaders," said Dhindsa.
"The party removed Kanjla after taking its president, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, and chief minister Prakash Singh Badal into confidence," the MP said here. "He had not kept senior leader in the loop, which made his announcing candidates on the party symbol a despotic decision," he added.
Dhindsa said even local party workers were unhappy with Kanjla's functioning and they had often taken the complaint to him and the party high command. "Even senior administration officials had complained about his arrogant behavior," he said. The sacking of Kanjla has exposed factions within the SAD in Barnala district.
During the 2002 assembly elections as well, Kanjla had resigned from the SAD after Dhindsa had tried to field his son, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, now finance minister representing Sherpur constituency, from Sangrur. After his removal on Wednesday, his supporters thronged his house in at Kanjla village in this district.
Kanjla accepted that he had allotted Akali ticket for 41 block-samiti contests and four zila parishad elections after six meetings with the selection advisory committee. "Party president Sukhbir Singh Badal has given all constituency in-charges the freedom to distribute ticket in these elections on their own in respective areas," he said. "Even Dhindsa was aware of the final list but he, later, disproved the candidates because he wanted to field the SAD rebels who had a role in my defeat in a previous assembly election," Kanjla added.
"Mein kehra Vidhan Sabha jan parliamentary election di ticket vand rehan jo Dhindsa saab ena raula pa rhe ne (I am not distributing the ticket for the assembly or parliamentary elections that Dhindsa should make a noise about it)," said Kanjla. "Dhindsa's only grouse is that his loyalists did not get the ticket. Dhindsa saab tan aven jvaakan valian glan kar rhe ne…. je eh election nal prime minister bande hone fer tan kehn (Dhindsa is being childish, as if this election will make him a prime minister or what)," he added.