A day after former minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur’s son and Youth Akali Dal (YAD) leader Damanvir Singh accused state transport minister Ajit Singh Kohar of interfering in Kartarpur constituency of his father, the rift in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) unit here widened when Phillaur endorsed the views.
When on Sunday YAD Doaba zone senior vice-president Damanvir Singh said he was going to start a signature campaign against Kohar in Jalandhar district, no one took him seriously, until former minister Phillaur came out next day and told HT: “Kohar as SAD district president (rural) in Jalandhar was making arbitrary appointments in my assembly constituency without taking me into confidence. We will complain to party president Sukhbir Singh Badal.”
Damanvir Singh has a controversial past. When his name cropped up in the Bhola drug racket investigation, his father had to quit the cabinet in May 2014.
A few days ago, Damanvir — whom Enforcement Directorate (ED) has interrogated in the money-laundering case related to the synthetic drug racket and not given him clean chit yet — demanded resignation of chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) and Phillaur Akali legislator Avinash Chander, saying his repeated summoning by the ED in the same case was embarrassing the party.
Phillaur’s endorsing his son’s views has surprised many senior leaders of the party who were suggesting disciplinary action against Damanvir Singh. “I won’t comment on Daman’s statement; you may ask him why he said so; but he has a point,” said Phillaur.
Meanwhile, many party workers from Kartarpur led by senior Akali leaders Gurdial Singh Chitti, Ranjit Kahlon, and Rajinder Singh Nagra demanded disciplinary action against Phillaur’s son. At a press conference, where they had gathered more than 50 members of panchayats, block samiti, and zila parishad, they accused Damanvir Singh of patronising land mafia in Kartarpur.
“For many months now, Phillaur’s son has been running all his father’s business. He has ignored the grass-roots workers to promote those with land-mafia links,” said SAD’s Lambra circle president Chitti.
Kahlon, an SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) member from Kartarpur, said before condemning Kohar, Phillaur’s son should measure his own political stature.
“It’s funny to see a small member of the YAD accuse old guard. We doubt if he can do this without his father’s backing; so the party should ask both to explain,” said Kahlon.
Doaba YAD president Sarabjot Sabi confirmed that a few senior leaders of the party had filed complaints against Damanvir Singh. “I am in touch with the party high command to receive advice on action,” said Sabi. NO DECISION YET ON NRI ADMISSIONS The latest instruction did not mention anything about NRI (non-resident Indian) quota admissions.
Medical education secretary Hussan Lal said that fresh directions would be issued in day or so as legal opinion on the recent ordinance of the central government was awaited.