Polls on mind, SAD forms ‘please-all’ party panels

  • Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jan 17, 2016 21:39 IST

With the assembly elections only a year away, and a tough fight expected as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerges as a strong contender, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) seems to be following a please-all policy by bringing in people of all hues into the party fold.

Of late, the party has been involved in a hectic exercise to revamp its different bodies and committees, something which was pending since 2013, when Sukhbir Singh Badal became party president for the second time in a row.

On Sunday, SAD announced its fresh bodies and committees — and they are of a mammoth composition. The SAD working committee has 155 members, 25 names figure in the advisors list, and 45 people have been inducted as permanent special invitees into the party.

The names in all the committees were cleared reportedly by Sukhbir, who is also the state’s deputy chief minister, himself.

SAD spokesman and secretary Daljeet Singh Cheema said the fresh working committee was a mix of Taksali Akalis and young, upcoming leaders. “In these committees, every section and area of state has been given due representation,” he said.

Akali MP from Anandpur Sahib, Prem Singh Chanudmajra, told HT that getting inducted into different committees of SAD was a recognition for a large number of people working for the party in different corners of the states. “Moreover, elections are approaching and the party workers and office bearers play a vital role, even if they don’t contest,” he added.

The party had earlier announced its office bearers, district presidents and the political affairs committee (PAC). Cheema said the party’s general council will be also be announced in a few days. Again, the general council is going to be a huge formation of 250 members.

The newly-constituted SAD working committee has more than 150 members, including former MP Rajmohinder Singh Majitha, father of revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, and three chief parliamentary secretaries Amarpal Singh Bonny Ajnala, Harmeet Singh Sandhu and Avinash Chander. The committee also has 17 sitting MLAs, 6 former ministers and 10 former MLAs.

“There is no limit for the number of advisors... we actually want to bring in more and more people, but they can’t be adjusted in one committee,” Cheema told HT, adding that the working committee, the party’s lifeline and main decision-making body, had been huge ever since SAD’s inception.

The SAD working committee meets every four months. The 25 advisers, however, have yet to be assigned their roles.

The party will also be announcing the office bearers of its overseas units, especially for Canada, UK and some other European countries. The party had announced a body for the US in August last year.

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