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SAD leader Dhindsa drops letter bomb, resigns from all party posts

Dhindsa’s son, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, who was the finance minister in the government (2012-17) headed by then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, said his father’s resignation letter was being misread.

punjab Updated: Sep 30, 2018 09:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
SAD,Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa,Dhindsa
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (HT File )

Senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa on Saturday resigned from all party positions, triggering speculations that all was not well within the SAD.

In a letter to party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, 82-year-old Dhindsa — who held the charge of SAD’s secretary general and was a member of the powerful core committee — said he will continue to be an “ordinary” member of the party.

“For a long time, I have been feeling, mentally and physically, that I have finished my innings in the field of active politics. Now, my health does not permit me to remain active in this field,” he said. The resignation invited sharp reaction from other parties with a Congress leader saying that Dhindsa quit the party posts as he was feeling “suffocated”. In an apparent damage control, the SAD issued a statement from Dhindsa’s son saying that there was nothing politically amiss in the resignation.

Apart from Dhindsa’s declining health, other reasons are being read into the development, particularly the SAD facing allegations related to incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib during the Akali regime in 2015.

Dhindsa, a former Union minister for chemicals and sports, was absent at the SAD’s ‘Jabar Virodh’ rally in Faridkot on September 16, while the entire top brass of the party was present.

Congress legislator Raj Kumar Verka, reacting to the resignation by Dhindsa, told a news channel that the veteran leader was “feeling suffocated” in the present setup in the SAD.

Dhindsa’s son, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, who was the finance minister in the government (2012-17) headed by then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, said his father’s resignation letter was being misread.

He said his “family was committed to the SAD” and he, on his part, would take this legacy forward after the retirement of his father.

“My father has clearly stated that he stands with the party and that he will continue to serve in the Rajya Sabha,” said Dhindsa, adding that his father had decided to relinquish his party duties due to ill-health. He said his father had undergone a bypass surgery recently and was on painkillers.

“Had there been health issues, Dhindsa could have delayed declaration of his resignation by some more months keeping in view crisis party is facing at present,” said a core-group member of the SAD, pleading anonymity. Another SAD functionary claimed that Dhindsa was not happy on party’s decisions, especially on hardcore Sikh issues.

Dhindsa was the only senior SAD leader who had reportedly sought the resignation of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, holding him responsible for granting pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in 2015 in a blasphemy case of 2007.

(with agency inputs)

First Published: Sep 30, 2018 09:50 IST