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As 'Revolt' Gains Ground, It's Old Guard Versus Young Blood in Akali Dal

The dissenting voices in the SAD are louder than ever in a party which has been overwhelmingly dominated by the father-son duo.

Ramlal Kondal | News18

Updated:October 1, 2018, 1:43 PM IST
As 'Revolt' Gains Ground, It's Old Guard Versus Young Blood in Akali Dal
Former chief minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal. (File photo)

Chandigarh: All is not well within the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) in Punjab.

Ever since the ruling Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party blamed former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal in the state Assembly for their ‘role’ in exonerating Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and for the sacrilege and firing incidents in Behbal Kala and Kotkapura, the rumblings of dissent in SAD have been gaining ground.

The dissenting voices in the SAD are louder than ever in a party which has been overwhelmingly dominated by the father-son duo.

The dent to the party’s image dealt by the Congress and the AAP inside the Assembly lent a voice to the Taksali Akalis, or the old guard of the party, who first raised their apprehensions at the core committee meeting.

It was former education minister Tota Singh and Lok Sabha member Prem Singh Chandumajra who mustered the courage and questioned the decision of the SAD leadership to boycott the debate on Justice (retd.) Ranjit Singh Commission report in the Punjab Assembly.

Soon after, former SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, expressing his resentment over the handling of the report by the party leadership, disclosed how he was not consulted prior to granting pardon to the Dera chief.

The rumblings and the disgruntlement even forced Parkash Singh Badal to come out of political hibernation and rescue the party from its worst-ever crisis. But his efforts fell short.

On Sept 29, veteran Taksali leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa dealt a major blow to the SAD announcing his resignation from all party positions. Though the Rajya Sabha MP cited ‘deteriorating health’ as the reason, political pundits had much to read in between the lines. Dhindsa had also skipped the party’s face-saving Jabar Virodhi rally held in Faridkot last month.

And no sooner the SAD played down Dhindsa’s move, it was the turn of another three Taksali leaders to launch a ‘revolt’.

MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, former MP Rattan Singh Ajnala and former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan on Sunday held closed door meeting in Amritsar reportedly ‘against the party leadership’.

The three senior leaders from the Majha region stopped short of quitting the party even as Parkash Singh Badal somehow managed to quell the ‘rebellion’ at the eleventh-hour. Two more leaders from Majha and Malwa regions were in touch with these leaders, however the party patron placated them too.

“No comments” is how Ranjit Singh Brahmpura replied to a question on Sukhbir’s leadership, adding “internal differences are not there to be made public. Things sometimes go wrong. It is for the party leadership to sort out the problems”.

These leaders from Majha are reportedly upset with the current ‘young’ leadership of Sukhbir Badal and Bikram Singh Majithia. The latter, nicknamed as ‘Majhe da jarnail’ (Majha’s soldier), has become an eyesore for many senior leaders leading to a turf war in the region.

It’s all about old guard versus the young blood in the SAD. As of now, all eyes are on the SAD’s another Jabar Virodhi rally in Capt. Amarinder Singh’s bastion, Patiala on October 7.

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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