Lok Sabha election: Tohra family rejoins SAD, Sukhbir Badal calls it historic day
Party chief says their fight in Patiala segment is with Dr Gandhi, claims Cong’s Preneet will be distant 3rd.Updated: Apr 20, 2019 22:19 IST
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) stalwart late Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s daughter Kuldeep Kaur, her husband and former state minister Harmail Singh Tohra and their son Harinderpal Singh rejoined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday, with party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal calling it a historic day for the Panthic outfit.
The three had joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the run-up to the 2017 assembly election after they were denied ticket from the Sanour constituency.
Party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, who welcomed the three into the party-fold at the Tohras’ residence, said, “With the Tohra family back into the party, the Panthic mainstream stands as a united family again.”
“Even former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal called me today and termed the Tohra family’s reentry into the party as a ‘dream fulfilled’. He will be the happiest person today, as he always wanted to be with the family,” he added.
Kuldeep Kaur said, “We had some differences with the party but things have been sorted out now. It is like homecoming for us as the Tohra family always identifies with the Akali Dal. Joining AAP was just a political compulsion.”
Harmail said, “No party stands anywhere near SAD as far as Panthic credentials are concerned. We are committed to the party and will work for its welfare.”
The SAD chief said it was very painful when the members of the family left party and joined AAP. “There might be several faults in me or in party policies what made them to leave the party. We have overcome those faults and have now come as joint force to give stiff competition to our opponents in Lok sabha elections,” Sukhbir said.
“Ever since my childhood, I observed that the Badal-Tohra duo were a part of the religio-political psyche of the people of Punjab for more than a half century. The two waged a long and difficult struggle and steered the Panth out of many crises,” Sukhbir said.
He said the Akali Dal is not a party of any individual but of all workers and leaders. On a query about some remarks by the leaders of SAD (Taksali), Sukhbir said Ranjit Singh Brahampura is a fatherly figure to him. “I don’t want to comment on the remark against me by those who I always respected. I hold Brahampura, Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Rattan Singh Ajnala in high esteem and always will,” he added.
Also, Youth Congress leader Sharanjeet Singh Jogipur joined SAD. Sukhbir visited the residence of former market committee chairman Harwinder Singh Harpalpur to hold a workers’ meeting.
Sukhbir said in the Patiala constituency the main fight is between SAD’s Surjit Singh Rakhra and Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA) candidate Dharamvira Gandhi.
“Congress’ Preneet Kaur will finish a distant third. The false promises made to the people of Punjab are going to haunt the Congress in this election,” he claimed.
Kuldeep Kaur Tohra, currently a Shiromani Gurdwara parbandhak Committee (SGPC), contested on AAP ticket from the Sanaur assembly segment in 2017 but lost to SAD’s Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra by 20,818 votes. Also, she unsuccessfully contested the 2012 assembly polls as SAD nominee.
Harmail Tohra won as a SAD candidate from the Dakala constituency (now Sanour) in 1997 and was public works department (PWD) minister in the Punjab cabinet.