Senior Akali leaders revolt against Sukhbir Badal, want him to step down | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Senior Akali leaders revolt against Sukhbir Badal, want him to step down

Jun 25, 2024 09:55 PM IST

After a five-hour meeting to discuss the future of the party, the leaders demanded Sukhbir step down as SAD chief.

Senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders Prem Singh Chandumajra, Sikander Singh Maluka, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Parminder Singh Dhindsa and Sarwan Singh Phillaur on Tuesday raised a banner of revolt against party president Sukhbir Singh Badal by launching the Akali Dal Bachao Lehar in Jalandhar.

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal is grappling with dissent in his party after its poor showing in successive elections since 2017. (HT file photo)
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal is grappling with dissent in his party after its poor showing in successive elections since 2017. (HT file photo)

After a five-hour meeting to discuss the future of the party, the leaders demanded Sukhbir step down as SAD chief. “A personality having a strong political and religious understanding should be given the command of the party,” Chandumajra said.

The leaders skipped the meeting of halqa in-charges convened by Sukhbir in Chandigarh.

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Sukhbir termed the meeting of the party leaders in Jalandhar as another attempt to weaken the Panthic force of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The Jalandhar West assembly byelection scheduled on July 10, and four more seats of Gidderbaha, Chabbewal, Barnala and Dera Baba Nanak set to be held in the coming months.

In the June 1 Lok Sabha elections, of the 13 seats in Punjab that it contested, the SAD managed to win just one seat — Bathinda — which was retained by Sukhbir Badal’s wife Harsimrat.

Its candidates lost security deposits on 10 seats, as the party got only 13.42% of the vote share, against 27.45% in 2019.

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The SAD’s former ally BJP got 18.52% vote share, up from 9.63% in 2019. Since the Lok Sabha results, the SAD is not only facing criticism over the Amritpal issue, but also over demands for reforms within the party.

Party leaders, including Dhindsa, Bibi Jagir Kaur and Manpreet Singh Ayali, had spoken up over the SAD’s repeated poor show in the elections — assembly polls in 2017 and 2022 and the recent parliamentary election. “It (party’s electoral performance) can’t be worse than this. We need to sit and do a serious thinking as to what needs to be done to save the party’s existence,” Dhindsa said earlier this month, while Ayali demanded implementation of the Jhundan committee to put the party back on the track otherwise he would not attend to the party affairs. Bibi Jagir Kaur had asked the party to take corrective steps urgently “as it is unfortunate and alarming that the people of Punjab have lost faith their confidence in the party of martyrs”.

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