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Expelled Akali leaders to float new political outfit on December 14

Veteran Shiromani Akali Dal leaders Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Rattan Singh Ajnala and Sewa Singh Sekhwan , along with Brahmpura’s son Ravinder Singh Brahmpura and Ajnala’s son Amarpal Singh ‘Bonny’ Ajnala, were expelled from the primary membership of SAD for six years for indulging in anti-party activities on November 11.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2018 09:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
shiromani akali dal,expelled SAD leaders,Ranjit Singh Brahmpura
( Left To Righ) Expelled SAD leaders Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Rattan Singh Ajnala addressing a press conference in Amritsar on Sunday, December 2, 2018.(Sameer Sehgal / HT Photo )

Less than a month after they were expelled from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), veteran leaders Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Rattan Singh Ajnala and Sewa Singh Sekhwan on Sunday announced to float a new political outfit based on the Akali Dal’s old constitution, which was framed in 1920.

The veteran leaders, along with Brahmpura’s son Ravinder Singh Brahmpura and Ajnala’s son Amarpal Singh ‘Bonny’ Ajnala, were expelled from the primary membership of the party for six years for indulging in anti-party activities on November 11.

The decision to form a new front was taken during a meeting of the trio at Brahmpura’s residence in Amritsar. In a joint statement, Khadoor Sahib MP Brahmpura, former MP Ajnala, former minister Sekhwan, Ajnala’s son Bonny and former MLA Manmohan Singh Sathiala said: “On the demand of Sikhs living in Punjab and abroad, we have decided to float a new party on December 14, the day when the Shiromani Akali Dal was formed in 1920.”

Sekhwan, Brahmpura, Ajnala and some other Taksali leaders (old guard) had raised a banner of revolt against party president Sukhbir Singh Badal and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia, accusing them of deviating from the Panthic agenda and causing irreparable damage to the SAD and its cause.

“The new Shiromani Akali Dal will be based on the constitution of the original SAD,” said Brahmpura, adding that they would also approach Bains brothers-led Lok Insaaf Party and suspended AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira to join them. He said the Sukhbir-led SAD has been decimated and there was a need to form a new Akali Dal.

Slamming the trio, party vice-presidents Nirmal Singh Kahlon and Gulzar Singh Ranike said they were playing into the hands of the Congress. The very announcement that they would reach out to Khaira was a proof that the new outfit would be a Congress-backed front, they said.

The Akali leaders questioned how a Panthic leader can ever shake hands with Khaira, “who spent 19 years of his 22-year-long political career in the Congress and supported the attack on the Darbar Sahib and never demanded action against those responsible of killing Sikhs during the 1984 riots”.

“Khaira himself is a Congress tout and by joining hands with him, the expelled leaders have also proved that they are Congress stooges who are always ready to do what their political masters order,” said Kahlon and Ranike.

The veteran leaders had expressed their dismay at the “sad state of affairs” in the party in a joint press conference on October 1. The trio then boycotted the party’s October 7 Patiala rally. On October 23, Brahmpura resigned from all party posts and Sekhwan followed suit on November 3.

On November 4, Brahmpura held a show of strength at historic Chohla Sahib village in Tarn Taran and held Sukhbir and Majithia responsible for granting pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a blasphemy case, Kotakpura and Behbal Kalan police firing and the Bargari sacrilege incidents.

“The motive behind floating the new party is to free the SAD from the clutches of Sukhbir and Majithia,” said Sekhwan, adding that the new outfit will contest Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections.

They said Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa is also in their contact. Dhindsa had tendered his resignation from all party posts on September 29 on health grounds. When asked about the support of those Sikh leaders who are on protest in Bargari, Brahmpura said: “Anyone who is ready to follow the doctrine of the original Akali Dal, is welcome to join us.”

‘Credit for Kartarpur corridor goes to Sidhu’

Talking about the Kartarpur corridor, Brahmpura said credit for the project should go to local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu as Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is his good friend and decided to honour Sidhu’s wish. “It was the long-pending demand of Sikhs. Though government of both nations made efforts for the corridor on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the credit goes to Sidhu,” said Brahmpura.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 09:50 IST