Having sidelined the once-powerful Tohra family for the past seven years, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has finally tried to rehabilitate it by appointing late Akali stalwart Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s grandson Harinderpal Singh Tohra as chairman of the Patiala Market Committee.
Though the chairmanship is limited to Patiala, it’s some solace for the Tohra family which has been in political wilderness since his death in 2004. The Akalis have been in power since 2007, but the family has remained ignored. Tohra, who was the president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for more than 25 years, was a force to reckon with in Punjab politics.
In the 2007 and 2012 assembly polls, members of the Tohra family had lost on the SAD ticket.
Tohra’s son-in-law Harmel Singh was defeated in 2007, while his daughter, Bibi Kuldeep Kaur, ended up losing in 2012. Though Kuldeep won the 2011 SGPC polls, she didn’t get any post in the religious body as the Supreme Court has not yet cleared the formation of the new SGPC House.
A SAD leader, requesting anonymity, said, “Sukhbir Badal (party president) has played his cards very well. He finished the political clout of the Tohra family. Now, he has given them chairmanship of such a body which has no direct connect with the public; its functioning is limited to Patiala district.” He said the family could project Harinderpal, Singh, a councillor, as its new face.
Meanwhile, CM Parkash Singh Badal has appointed Nardev Singh as vice-chairman of the Patiala Market Committee. Nirmal Singh and Ravinder Singh Dhillon have been nominated as chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the Patran Market Committee. Kartar Singh Sandhu has been nominated as the chairman of the Rajpura Market Committee.