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SHIROMANI AKALI DAL 99TH FOUNDATION DAY: Will ‘liberate’ SAD, SGPC from clutches of Badals, says Dhindsa

Splinter groups to meet likeminded, disgruntled Akali leaders to restore lost glory of party
By Anil Sharma | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Amritsar
PUBLISHED ON DEC 14, 2019 11:28 PM IST

Veteran Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa on Saturday sought support of “likeminded” outfits to liberate the party from the clutches of the Badal family and also restore the democracy in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Dhindsa was addressing a parallel function organised by splinter groups of the SAD to commemorate the party’s 99th foundation day at the Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD)-run school on the Majitha road in Amritsar. The function was led-by Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali), an outfit of disgruntled Akali leaders.

“I appeal to the Sikh, religious and youth organisations, NRIs, farmer and labour unions, writers, intellectuals and professors to help us to accomplish the task for which we have initiated a drive,” said Dhindsa, adding we have to make earnest efforts to liberate SAD and SGPC from the control of one family.”

“We (Dhindsa and Takasli leaders Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Sewa Singh Sekhwan) have decided that a committee would be formed in a week, which will not only meet likeminded leaders but also approach leaders who have parted ways from the Akali Dal. We are committed to restore the lost glory of the party,” he said.

The veteran Akali leader said he will neither contest an election, nor will he leave the party, but will continue lending support to SAD (Taksali) for ousting the Badal family from the SAD and SGPC.

“The country’s second oldest party is being degraded by the Badals. It is our responsibility to save and strengthen it. It’s sad that the SGPC has deviated from its original path. The Badals have made it their personal property. We will contest and win SGPC elections with the support of the sangat,” said Dhindsa, adding: “Even the powers of the Akal Takht jathedar are being misused. The former jathedar was called by the Badals to their residence for granting pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda head head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a blasphemy case.”

‘SUKHBIR’S RE-ELECTION UNDEMOCRATIC’

On Sukhbir Singh Badal’s re-election as the SAD chief, Dhindsa said: “He has been elected undemocratically. The elections to the SAD and the SGPC are not held in a democratic way. We want only honest and loyal leaders in the SGPC who believe in Sikhism tenants.”

Recalling his suggestion to party patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, Dhindsa said: “After the party lost the 2017 assembly polls, I advised him (Badal Sr) to ask Sukhbir to step down, but he paid no heed to my suggestion. Instead, the father-son duo started sacking senior leaders who raised their voice.”

Attacking senior Badal on sacrilege issue, Dhindsa said: “I asked him to seek pardon by appearing in person at the Akal Takht, but to no avail.”

Apart from SAD (Taksali) president Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, vice-president Ratan Singh Ajnala, secretary general Sewa Singh Sekhwan, the function was also attended by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee former chiefs Paramjit Singh Sarna and Manjit Singh GK, incumbent MLC from Utter Pradesh and former Union minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, former Punjab assembly speaker Ravi Inder Singh, former deputy speaker Bir Davinder Singh, SGPC general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, All India Student Federation (AISF) chief Manjit Singh Bhoma and former president Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad.

SARNA FOR ONE PARTY, ONE CONSTITUTION

GK and Sarna said they were ready to lend any kind of support to the SAD (Taksali) in its effort to free the SGPC and SAD from the control of the Badal family. Sarna also urged the splinter leaders to make “one party, one constitution” to fight against the Badals.

Brahmpura said his party’s effort to fight against the Badal family will continue. Sekhwan said they will go to every nook and corner of the Punjab to make people aware about the anti-panthic activities the Badals during their year-long programme to commemorate the centenary of the SAD.

Lok Insaaf Party leaders and MLAs Simarjeet Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains stayed away from the function.

Earlier, a bhog ceremony of Sukhmani Sahib path was held at the school’s gurdwara. The leaders of the splinter groups also honoured the family members of Sikhs who laid down their lives fighting for the SAD.

After the function, the splinter groups leaders also paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and did ardas (religious prayer) in front of the Akal Takht.

EIGHT RESOLUTIONS PASSED

During the function the dissident Akali leaders passed eight resolutions holding the Badal-led SAD and the Congress responsible for not taking action against the accused of sacrilege. They also held the Badal family responsible for ruining the religious institutions of Punjab and made an appeal to the Centre to hold SGPC election as early as possible.

They announced to hold an agitation over the long-pending issues of Punjab, including inclusion of Punjabi-speaking areas in the state. The leaders resolved to press the Centre to implement the Swaminathan Commission report, besides decreasing the prices of seeds to help farmers.

They also held the Badals for the sacrilege incidents in Punjab. One of the resolutions sad the SAD is no more a panthic and has no right to celebrate the party’s 99th foundation day.

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