Ministers slam Badals, say SAD in complete disarray
A day after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) suspended veteran leader and Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and his son Parminder Singh Dhindsa, three Punjab ministers on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the party leadership alleging that it has been reduced to the personal fiefdom of the Badals.
Rural development and panchayats minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, housing and urban development minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and revenue minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar reacted sharply to Sukhbir’s wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s increasing interference in the party and state affairs as evident from her presence at the meetings of SAD’s core committee, despite not being its member.
The ministers said it was ironical that the Akalis, who had historically fought to free gurdwaras from the control of ‘mahants’ (traditional clergy that had become extremely powerful and ritualised, in the early 20th century) were now being led by a similar hereditary command structure under the Badals.
“What is the difference between the heredity promoted by mahants/udasis in the British India and the Badals, who were nurturing a similar culture?” they asked.
“The SAD is in complete disarray, particularly in the post Prakash Singh Badal era,” they said, pointing to the rebellion by the Dhindsa father-son duo, who had been suspended from the party.
The Dhindsas had openly revolted against the stifling control of the SAD by the Badals, declaring their intent to liberate the party from the family and revive its lost glory, the ministers said, citing it as just the latest example of the mounting disillusionment within the party against Sukhbir’s leadership and the lack of democracy prevailing in it.
“If senior leaders of the party are so unhappy with the leadership and loss of ideology, one can only imagine how dissatisfied the ordinary workers would be,” they quipped.
The Akali Dal, said the ministers, had lost all credibility under the unprincipled, unethical and corrupt leadership of the Badals, who had lost all political integrity and had cut off the party complete from the grassroots in order to promote their selfish personal interests.
They also termed Sukhbir’s “senseless” recent diatribes against the Captain Amarinder Singh government as a frustrated bid to divert attention from the total collapse of the SAD, and his own personal downfall in the face of the growing resentment against him from within the party.
The ministers said it was time for the Badals to step down from the SAD and hand over the party reins to those who remain committed to the Akali ideology.