Day after son, daughter-in-law join BJP, SAD removes Sikander Singh Maluka as Maur halqa in-charge - Hindustan Times
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Day after son, daughter-in-law join BJP, SAD removes Sikander Singh Maluka as Maur halqa in-charge

By, Vishal Joshi, Chandigarh/bathinda
Apr 13, 2024 07:56 AM IST

Sikander Singh Maluka said that he had tried to stop his son, Gurpreet Singh Maluka, and daughter-in-law, Parampal Kaur Sidhu, from joining the saffron party but in vain.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal removed Sikander Singh Maluka as the halqa in-charge of Bathinda’s Maur segment, a day after the latter’s son and daughter-in-law joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In his place, veteran leader Janmeja Singh Sekhon has been appointed to the post.

Sikander Singh Maluka, a former cabinet minister during SAD-BJP regime (from 2012 to 17), has been an Akali leader for 40 years. (HT File)
Sikander Singh Maluka, a former cabinet minister during SAD-BJP regime (from 2012 to 17), has been an Akali leader for 40 years. (HT File)

While Sekhon, a former MLA and the halqa in-charge of Zira segment under the Ferozepur Lok Sabha seat, refused to comment on the change in guard, a dejected Maluka said that he had tried to stop his son, Gurpreet Singh Maluka, and daughter-in-law, Parampal Kaur Sidhu, from joining the saffron party but in vain.

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Talking to HT, Maluka, who has been an Akali leader for over 40 years, said, “The children have grown up; they have the right to take decisions independently. If they think they have a future elsewhere, how long can I stop them?”

Maluka, who was also the chairperson of the SAD disciplinary committee, further said, “Had there been any complaint (against his son quitting the party), I would have certainly sought an explanation from him.”

On being asked if he will join the BJP, Maluka said, “I do not know what the future holds, only the time will tell.”

On questions regarding his removal as Maur halqa in-charge, the veteran leader said he abides by party president Sukhbir Badal’s decisions. “Sukhbir is malik (chief) of the party, he can take any decision. And I accept it,” he said.

Interestingly, until Thursday, when his son and daughter-in-law joined the BJP, Maluka was seen actively campaigning for SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who served as the Bathinda MP for three consecutive terms and remained a minister of state in the Modi cabinet until 2020. While the SAD is yet to announce its nominees, insiders say the party will again go with Harsimrat for this seat. The BJP may pit Maluka’s daughter-in-law against Harsimrat.

“Yes, I campaigned for Harsimrat ji as and when the party fixed political meetings in my area,” said Maluka, who ducked questions on whether he would campaign for his family member.

Meanwhile, Sekhon, the new halqa in-charge of Maur and a confidant of the Badal family, said, “I will hold the first workers’ meeting in Maur on April 16. I have decided to spend three days a week in Maur for electioneering of LS polls.”

Malukas’ grouse with party

Sikander Singh Maluka, a former cabinet minister during SAD-BJP regime (from 2012 to 17), has reportedly been upset with the SAD over being denied ticket from the Maur constituency in 2022. The Akali Dal had fielded Jagmeet Singh Brar from the seat while Maluka was made to contest from Rampura Phull, where he had previously contested in five elections – 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017 – and won only in 1997 and 2012.

Maluka was appointed the in-charge of Maur constituency in June last year. As per reports, his son Gurpreet Maluka has been in talks with the BJP since 2021 but was stopped from joining the party following the intervention of senior Akali leaders.

Parampal Sidhu’s controversial elevation as an IAS

Parampal Kaur Sidhu’s elevation as an IAS officer was as controversial as her exit. She had been promoted as deputy director in the rural development and panchayats department in December 2015 when Maluka was the minister in-charge of the department. Subsequently, her case was sent to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for induction as an IAS officer by nomination. In January 2016, during the SAD-BJP rule, she joined as a non-state civil services IAS officer and was allotted the 2011-batch, and her first posting was as additional deputy commissioner (general) in Bathinda. She applied for premature retirement a few days ago. On Thursday, her entry into the BJP had run into a controversy after chief minister Bhagwant Mann said the state government had not accepted her resignation.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is an Assistant Editor with the Punjab bureau. He covers politics, agriculture, power sector, environment, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.

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