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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Sukhdev Dhindsa resigns as SAD leader in Rajya Sabha

Dhindsa’s resignation two days ahead of the crucial bypolls in Punjab has surprised many

chandigarh Updated: Oct 19, 2019 23:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, CHANDIGARH

Senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa on Saturday resigned as the leader of the party in the upper house of Parliament.

Leaders close to Dhindsa said he met Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday and put in his papers. Dhindsa was not available for comments despite repeated attempts and did not give any reason for the decision. His tenure as a Rajya Sabha MP will end in 2022.

Dhindsa’s resignation two days ahead of the crucial bypolls in Punjab has surprised many, especially in the wake of his increasing proximity with the RSS-BJP leadership in the national capital. He was awarded Padam Bhushan by the BJP-led central government earlier this year.

The SAD, however, was quick to counter the reports on Dhindsa’s resignation with party’s chief spokesperson and former state cabinet minister Daljit Singh Cheema posting a letter dated June this year on social media in which Balwinder Bhunder was appointed as leader of the House and Naresh Gujral was appointed deputy leader. The SAD has three members in the upper house of Parliament.

“The party has already informed the parliamentary affairs minister about the change in leadership in the Rajya Sabha and a copy of this was also sent to the secretary general of the House,” said Cheema in a tweet with the letter by SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Dhindsa had resigned as secretary-general of SAD in September last year and took pot-shots at Sukhbir as party president, followed by three veteran Akalis — Ranjit Singh Brahmpura (former Khadoor Sahib), former MP Ratan Singh Ajnala and former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan raising a banner of revolt against the party leadership. The three were later expelled from the party.

Dhindsa, who is considered next to party patriarch Parkash Singh Badal in the SAD, continued to be unhappy with the SAD leadership even as his son, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, contested the Lok Sabha elections from the Sangrur constituency. He even stayed away from campaigning of his son. Parminder was also appointed SAD leader in the Punjab assembly in August this year after Sukhbir resigned as MLA after his election as Ferozepur MP.