Amarinder Singh and Parkash Singh Badal. (File Photo)
Three weeks after a SAD passed a resolution at a rally to expel Dhindsas from the party, rebel Akalis held a show of strength Sunday at the same venue — grain market — in Sangrur to hit back at the Badal family.
At the event, rebel Akali leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa accused the Badal family of being “hand in glove” with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, saying their business interests “remained unaffected” despite the Congress being in power in the state.
Dhindsa appeared to be responding to the allegations by Akali Dal leaders that he and his son Parminder Singh Dhindsa were being used as “pawns” by the CM and Congress to “weaken” the SAD.
Sangrur is the home turf of the Dhindsas — Sukhdev Singh and his son, Parminder Singh Dhindsa — who were expelled from SAD for anti-party activities on February 2.
“Whole of Punjab knows that Badals and Captain are hand-in-glove with each other. Buses of the Badals are running on roads without permits, their business is growing as normal. Congress leader Kewal Dhillon’s business grew during the Akali rule. Because of their mutual understanding, no punishment is being given in Bargari and Behbal Kalan firing incident culprits,” Dhindsa senior told the gathering, adding that the size of their rally was much bigger than the SAD’s.
“Sukhbir you come here and see. This gathering is enough to break your arrogance,” said Dhindsa, a Rajya Sabha member.
He added: “While Badal Dal is saying that they are organising rallies against Congress, but what do they discuss in those rallies? They discuss me, my son and other leaders who dared to speak against wrong doings of Akali Dal. This too exposes their mutual understanding with Congress.”
Attacking former CM Parkash Singh Badal, SAD (Taksali) leader Ranjit Singh Brahmapura said: “He says in his statements that he made many sacrifices, but we too went to jail. Many senior leaders have made sacrifices for the party in the past due to which the party has a name today. Badal needs to know that Akali Dal is a panthic thought and not anyone’s personal property as he thinks. Soon after 2017 Vidhan Sabha polls, we had grilled Sukhbir Badal and his brother-in-law Bikram Majithia, over the poor performance of the party, and had demanded his resignation. But he was retained. Till the time we did not raise their faults in public, we were valuable to the party and now we are the back-stabbers.”
Others who attended the rally included SAD (Taksali) leader Sewa Singh Sekhwan, SAD (1920) leader Ravi Inder Singh, former MP Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, former Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh, former president of Delhi Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Manjit Singh GK and former Akal Takht Jathedar Ranjit Singh.
A total of 13 resolutions were read by Gurbachan Singh Bachi, former general secretary SAD, in which the last one was to dismiss Sukhbir Badal as president of the Akali Dal. As Bachi read out the resolutions, all the members sitting on stage as well as the gathering raised their hands to approve it.
“We may have been expelled from the Akali Dal, which is Badal Dal now, but they can’t take Akali Dal out of our hearts. We want to restore the old Akali Dal which was set up 100 years ago and where our leaders made several sacrifices,” said Lehragaga MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa while addressing the gathering.
Resolution number 13, read out by Bachi, said,”Today’s gathering feels that dictatorial policies of Sukhbir Singh Badal are the reason for the falling graph of Akali Dal....The president’s thoughts are not panthic. He neither appears like a panthic leader, nor is he working is on panthic lines. Moreover, his speech is also not panthic, he has no in-depth knowledge about Sikh history due to which the SGPC is also being defamed. Hence the gathering dismisses Sukhbir Singh Badal from presidentship of the SAD.”
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said that their focus is to free SGPC from the clutches of the Badals. Lehragaga MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa added,”SGPC elections are more important for us as we have to save our gurdwaras first where scams worth crores are happening as the ‘Golaks’ are being controlled by Badals....We have passed resolution to press upon Centre government to organise SGPC polls.”
SAD calls rally by rebels 'flop show'
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Sunday described a public gathering of Akali rebles as a flop show. In a statement, party even alleged that rally was supported by the Congress party. SAD spokesman Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said the Akali rank and file had seen through the so called “Taksalis” and boycotted their show entirely forcing them to depend upon Congress cadre to save face. “However, they failed in this also with the gathering not being a fraction of the massive sea of people which had congregated at the same spot recently on a call given by the SAD”. Dr Cheema alleged that various disjointed factions had failed to project any vision except trying to spread hatred against the SAD as per the game plan of the Congress party. “It is also questionable as to what leadership they will provide considering that they could not choose a leader from among themselves till now,” he said, adding: “People realise that the these self-styled Taksalis are working as per the diktats of the Congress party and are even taking the help of the Congress to hold gatherings. They will never be accepted by Punjabis now.”