Sukhbir set to be re-elected SAD president for third time in a row
Around 600 delegates to assemble at Teja Singh Samundari Hall in Amritsar to elect party president on Dec 14Updated: Dec 11, 2019 01:11 IST
Sukhbir Singh Badal is set to be re-elected president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the third time during a delegate session being held in Amritsar on December 14, the 99th foundation day of the party.
The party was founded in 1920, a month after the formation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. The session will be held at Teja Singh Samundri Hall, headquarters of the SGPC.
After completing the membership drive, the party is holding district-level meetings across the state to elect delegates. The meetings are being presided over by district observers of the membership drive. On Monday, a meeting was held in Amritsar at Bhai Gurdas Hall.
“Holding the delegate session to elect the party president at Teja Singh Samundri Hall is an old tradition of the SAD. Apart from Punjab, delegates (around 600) from other states will also attend the meeting,” said party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema.
Batala MLA Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, who is observer of Tarn Taran district and presided over meeting on Sunday, told that four delegates have been nominated per assembly segment. “From 117 assembly segments of Punjab, a total of 468 delegates will attend the session and elect the president of the party,” added.
After being elected, the president will name other office-bearers of the party.
“The delegate session is organised every five years to elect new office-bearers. The session will start after the bhog ceremony of akhand path,” said senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia.
Senior SAD functionaries say the incumbent president, whose grip on the party continues, would be re-elected even as his leadership was questioned by some party leaders who later turned rebels, especially following a row over apology to the Dera Sacha Sauda chief in blasphemy case by the Akal Takht, Bargari sacrilege and Behbal Kalan killing.
“Assessment on the election of party president is not difficult job,” said a key party leader when he was asked if Sukhbir will retain the headship.
Son of the Akali patriarch and five-time Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir was the youngest president of the party when he was elected to the post for the first time in 2008 before taking charge as deputy chief minister of the state. He was re-elected as party chief in 2013.
SAD TO CELEBRATE 99TH FOUNDATION DAY
Sharing details of the celebrations of the party’s 99th foundation day, Cheema said: “Akhand path will be held at Akal Takht on December 12 apart from performing sewa (voluntary service) till the bhog ceremony on December 14 morning.”
The sewa will include sweeping, cleaning utensils in langar hall, serving langar and dusting-polishing shoes of the devotees. The Akali leaders will also listen gurbani kirtan all three days, he said.
REBEL AKALIS, KIN BEING WOOED
The party is wooing rebel Akalis, including former MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali) leaders, old-timers Ravi Inder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who were allegedly sidelined by the Badals, to attend the celebrations at the Akal Takht.
The rebel leaders are organising a separate event in the holy city to celebrate the party’s foundation day.
SAD functionaries say the party is approaching families of former SAD president and SGPC chief late Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi and jathedar Mohan Singh Tur.
Brahmpura’s son Ravinder Singh said they will hold the function at the newly constructed auditorium of a school managed by the Chief Khalsa Diwan. CKD chief Nirmal Singh Thekedar was not available for comments.
The mobilisation being carried out in the name of foundation day celebrations is aimed at challenging the Badals-led SAD and lay foundation stone for the third political front.