Shiromani Akali Dal to test the waters in Haryana at Kurukshetra rally

The SAD leaders are claiming that the rally will be a turning point in Haryana’s politics and pave the way for the SAD to contest elections on its own in the coming assembly elections in the state.

punjab Updated: Aug 19, 2018 10:06 IST
Neeraj Mohan
Neeraj Mohan
Hindustan Times, Karnal
Shiromani Akali Dal,Haryana,Kurukshetra
Senior SAD leaders, including party president Sukhbir Singh Badal, Bikram Singh Majithia and Haryana in-charge Balwinder Singh Bhunder, are likely to address the rally.(HT File )

The Shiromani Akali Dal, which has already parted ways with its longtime ally Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and announced to go it alone in Haryana assembly polls next year, will test the waters in the state at its Pipli rally in Kurukshetra on Sunday.

Senior SAD leaders, including party president Sukhbir Singh Badal, Bikram Singh Majithia and Haryana in-charge Balwinder Singh Bhunder, are likely to address the rally being organised at Pipli grain market, with an eye on the Sikh vote bank in Kurukshetra and its neighbouring districts.

The SAD leaders are claiming that the rally will be a turning point in Haryana’s politics and pave the way for the SAD to contest elections on its own in the coming assembly elections in the state.

Meanwhile, Haryana State Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (HSGPC-ad hoc) leaders are opposing the rally. Earlier, HSGPC (ad hoc) president Jagdish Jhinda had even announced to hold a parallel rally at the same venue but he did not get the permission.

Jhinda, who has also formed a Janta Akali Dal and also announced to contest the elections in Haryana, says the SAD is biggest hurdle in the formation of HSGPC.

Talking to HT, he said, “The SAD is backing the SGPC, which is against the demand of thousands of Haryanvi Sikhs for a separate gurdwara body in Haryana. They do not have any right to hold a rally in the state.”

He added, “SAD will not get any support from Haryana and they will have to bring people from Punjab for the rally.”

The case related to the long pending demand of a separate Sikh body to govern gurdwaras in Haryana is in the final stage in the Supreme Court.

Jhinda had recently called on INLD leader Abhay Chautala to seek support over the HSGPC issue. Extending him support, Abhay had asserted that it was a question of the rights of the state and he was willing to put the traditional family ties (with Badals) aside and stand up for the people of Haryana.

“INLD will not allow any force to ignore the rights of the Sikhs and Sikhs of Haryana are the rightful owners of the assets of the gurdwaras of Haryana. The money donated to the gurdwaras of the state should be invested for their development,” Abhay had said in a statement.

He had also asked the SAD to make public its stand on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal issue. Haryana and Punjab have been at loggerheads over the issue.

Talking to HT, SAD Haryana president Sharanjeet Singh Sahota said, “We will continue our fight for our demands and we will ask the party leadership to support us over the SYL issue.”

On the demand of separate Sikh body in Haryana, he said, “We think there is no need for a separate body as the Sikhs in Haryana want to remain connected with the Akal Takht. However, we will raise our demand for a SGPC sub-office in Haryana. We will also urge the SGPC that donations collected from gurdwaras in Haryana should be spent here only.”

Asked whether the SAD will focus only on Sikh-dominated areas of Haryana, he said, “The party will reach out to the people in the entire state. SAD is not a party of Sikhs alone.”

First Published: Aug 19, 2018 10:03 IST