Punjab politics: Out of SAD core committee, ex-MP Jagmeet Brar expands parallel group
Bibi Jagir Kaur among 12 new members on SAD Unity Coordination Committee that aims to work for party’s revival before 2024 election
A day after Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal constituted the party’s core committee and kept Jagmeet Brar out of it, the former MP on Thursday announced the expansion of a parallel power group of senior leaders who want a change in party leadership.
Brar had constituted the parallel group called SAD Unity Coordination Committee two months ago, seeking a “course correction” in the party. This led to the initiation of disciplinary action against him and the party’s disciplinary action committee chief Sikander Singh Maluka had sought his reply from him but he is yet to respond to the show-cause notice.
Announcing the expansion at a press conference in Chandigarh, Brar said 12 members have been added to his panel, including Adesh Pratap Kairon, who is son-in-law of Shiromani Akali Dal chief patron Parkash Singh Badal.
On Wednesday, Sukhbir had constituted an advisory board of eight senior most leaders and reconstituted the core committee but excluded Brar, who is facing disciplinary charges for forming the panel. Kairon was not included either of the two panels announced by the SAD president.
The other members Brar named on the SAD Unity Coordination Committee include Bibi Jagir Kaur, who was expelled from the party for contesting against the party candidate Harjinder Singh Dhami during the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president election last month.
Brar said he supports Bibi Jagir Kaur and termed her ouster from the party as unconstitutional.
Besides, Sucha Singh Chhotepur, Ravikaran Singh Kahlon, Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, Gaganjit Singh Barnala, Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh, Alwinder Singh Pakhoke, Begum Praveen Nusrat, Harbans Singh Manjhpur, Amandeep Singh Mangat and Narinder Singh Kaleka are members of the parallel panel.
He also backed Harcharan Bains, the former principal advisor to the SAD president, “as a senior person who deserves respect”.
According to Brar, the aim of the Unity Coordination Committee is to strengthen the party and work for its revival, focussing on the 2024 general election.
DEFEATED SUKHBIR FROM FARIDKOT IN 1999
Brar was the Punjab Congress general secretary during chief minister Beant Singh’s tenure in the early ’90s. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1992 and defeated Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections from Faridkot. At that time, Sukhbir was a Union minister and his father Parkash Singh Badal was the Punjab CM.
Brar was the permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) for 10 years and the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee from 2010-13.
He, however, lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2009 and claimed himself to be a “victim of a dirty gang of SAD and Congress MLAs”.
He was expelled from the Congress after bickering and rebelling against then Punjab unit leader Capt Amarinder Singh in 2016.
He went on to join Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress ahead of the 2017 assembly elections and was made the TMC’s Punjab head but the party failed to make a mark and he quit the party in January 2018.
Brar joined the Shiromani Akali Dal “unconditionally” in April 2019 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and called it “ghar wapsi” as his father was also an Akali leader. Three years on, the differences with Sukhbir have led to his being sidelined in the party.