SAD strife: Rebel faction demands Sukhbir's head; official faction blames BJP for trouble

The rebel faction has launuched the Akali Dal Bachao Lehar. They held a meeting and resolved to remove Sukhbir from the post of president.
Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Sukhbir Singh Badal.

CHANDIGARH: There is discontent in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as a section of the party leaders raised a banner of revolt against party president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The rebel faction has launched the Akali Dal Bachao Lehar.

They held a meeting and resolved to remove Sukhbir from the post of president.

The demand for Sukhbir Singh Badal's stepping down from the post of party chief came after a five-hour meeting held at Jalandhar on Wednesday.

The leaders who participated in the meeting include, Sikandar Maluka, Surjit Rakhra, Jagir Kaur, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Kiranjot Kaur, Manjit Singh, Surinder Bhullewal, Gurpartap Wadala, Charanjit Brar, Harinder Pal Tohra and Gaganjit Barnala.

Senior party Prem Singh Chandumajra said that there is an urgent need for change within the Akali Dal and urged party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal should acknowledge the sentiments of the party workers and mustdemonstrate a spirit of sacrifice by resigning from his post and handover it to the personality who can strengthen the party and maintain the balance between politics and religion.

He said the party had come down from "arsh" to "farsh" (sky to the ground).

Sukhbir Singh Badal.
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"We have discussed ways to improve the party's graph. The leaders will go to the Akal Takht on July 1 and seek forgiveness. From July 1 Akali Dal Bachao Lehar will be launched as the descendants of Master Tara Singh and other esteemed families, integral to the party's foundation. They are with us and these families should not be termed as anti-akali by Sukhbir Badal on the advice of some people. We request him not to break the party and he should listen to all sections of the party workers and leaders and not to just one particular group which is misguiding him," Chandumajra explained.

"A personality having a strong political and religious understanding should be given the command of the party. Intellectuals should be be roped in. A new leader will be chosen to head the party. Sukhbir Badal must listen to the people's verdict. A 15-21-member committee would be formed,"’ he added.

Meanwhile, Sukhbir Badal termed the meeting of the rebel leaders in Jalandhar as another attempt to weaken the Panthic force of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The party’s candidates lost security deposits on 10 Lok Sabha seats out of the 13 seats in the state, as the party got only a 13.42 per cent of the vote share, against 27.45 per cent in 2019.

A meeting of Shiromani Akali Dal District Presidents and Halka in-charges also lashed out at "deep-rooted conspiracies by the enemies of the Panth and Punjab "to divide and weaken the quom and its sole representative party, the SAD, by using some selfish and opportunistic elements."

In separate resolutions passed unanimously by the SAD district presidents and the Halka in- charges, the party stated categorically that BJP and government-agencies "are behind attempts to weaken or break the Shiromani Akali Dal. And frustrated elements sponsored by BJP to float parallel party or weaken the party from within can be seen in full swing. But these will not be allowed to succeed."

The resolutions placed on record the party’s whole-hearted appreciation of and faith in the "clear-headed, far-sighted and resolute leadership of the party President Sukhbir Singh Badal."

As many as 33 out of the existing 35 District Jathedars and 96 out of the existing number of 105 Halka (constituency) in-charges of the party lauded the leadership of Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Of these 33 district presidents, 28 actually attended the meeting while the five who couldn't attend had informed the party of their support for the president in writing while expressing their inability to attend because of some family reasons.

They strongly urged the party president to take "strict disciplinary action" against those who are "acting as agents of the enemies of the Party, Panth and Punjab and trying to create dissensions and misunderstandings among the Sangat about the party's panthic agenda. The resolutions also praised the president for standing up to "unprecedented pressures from the powers that be and for refusing to compromise on matters of high principles of Sikh quom, Punjab and the party".

Addressing the meetings, Badal said, "This confusion existed only for those who were keen to have an alliance with the BJP even at the cost of principles and the interests of the of the Khalsa Panth and Punjab. I had categorically clarified to Core Committee before the Lok Sabha poll that I can’t be a party to an unprincipled alliance with BJP."

"As president of a party that the community has always called its own, I couldn't have betrayed the Panth, the farmers and the poor and deprived section," he added.

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