Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali, who went against his party leadership by boycotting the presidential poll last month, on Sunday said his only agenda is to strengthen the party. In a video on Facebook, Ayali said he met party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and discussed with him the report given by Iqbal Singh Jhundan-led panel, which was formed to analyse the reasons for the party’s humiliating defeat in the assembly polls. SAD won just three seats in the 117-member Vidhan Sabha.
On July 18, the Dakha MLA had left his party red-faced by boycotting the presidential poll, saying issues related to Punjab remain unresolved and that his party leadership did not consult him before deciding to back NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu, who went on to succeed Ram Nath Kovind as the country’s President. On Sunday, the three-term legislator said he stood by his decision to boycott the poll.
While seeking the implementation of the Jhundan panel’s recommendations, Ayali had last month also spoken about change in party leadership. In his Facebook video, Ayali said he had nothing personal against anyone.
“There is only one agenda of how to strengthen the Shiromani Akali Dal. It is a regional party and can fight for the rights of Punjab very well,” he said, adding other parties work from Delhi. “Sometimes, there are rumours that I want to switch over to another party or I am greedy. The agenda is clear…,” Ayali, SAD’s legislature party leader, said.
Taking cognisance of the 13-member panel report, which is said to have been brought out after visiting 100 assembly constituencies and taking feedback from party workers, Badal had on July 28 dissolved SAD’s entire organisational structure. While the report is yet to be made public, party leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder had last month said the Jhundan-led committee made no mention of replacing Badal as the SAD president.