Sunday, March 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rebels flex muscles at Badal
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BADAL, March 4 — Despite numerous hurdles put up by the police authorities all over the state, Akali dissidents led by former speaker and MLA Ravi Inder Singh and former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra managed an impressive show of strength at the “Punjab bachao-Parkash Singh bhajao” rally held here at the native village of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today.

Thousands of people attended the rally site overcoming nearly foolproof police ‘nakas’ laid at various entry points of the village. Scuffles were also reported from various police ‘nakas’ where police officials attempted to prevent people from reaching the rally site.

The enthusiastic workers crossed all barricades and raised slogans against Mr Badal.

A galaxy of speakers who addressed gathering merely 100 metres away from Mr Badal’s mansion, called for a people’s movement to liberate Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the state from the corrupt, inefficient and hegemonistic clutches of Mr Badal.

In an important resolution passed at the conference, the organisers said it had become imperative to finish the influence of Mr Badal in politics and religion in the interest of the Sikh Panth, Punjab and India. The resolution also rejected the leadership of Mr Badal, who according to them, had failed on all fronts.

Mr Tohra in his emotionally charged marathon speech, said the President of India would be requested to institute a CBI probe into the allegations of corruption against Mr Badal, his family and colleagues in the government.

“As long as I am alive, I will not rest till Mr Badal meets his political end. We have ample evidences of the corrupt dealings and shall ensure that every single paisa is recovered from Mr Badal and his associates, he said calling for a door-to-door campaign to bring about a change in the leadership of the SAD and the administrative set of the state.

Mr Tohra said during his present tenure, the Chief Minister had beaten all records of non-governance, corruption, promoting nepotism and denigrating the Sikh religious bodies for petty political gains.” Mr Badal’s government had equalled violations committed during President’s rule, the Beant Singh’s government and the Emergency.

Ridiculing the claims of the Badal government regarding poor financial health of state, Mr Tohra said once corruption unleashed by Mr Badal was checked, ample finances could be made available for the much needed development of the state. He questioned that from where did the Chief Minister get Rs 400 crores which were spent to score a clandestine victory in the Nawanshahr by election where all democratic norms were openly flouted.

The organisers and people were suddenly agitated when power supply was disconnected during the speech of Mr Tohra. The organisers alleged that a close aide of the Chief Minister’s family had sabotaged the generator set.

In his speech, Mr Ravi Inder Singh alleged that Mr Badal was giving prized postings to corrupt officials in lieu of the election funds. He said instead of generating revenue for the state, these officials were generating illegal money for Mr Badal and themselves.

He alleged that Mr Badal had sabotaged the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib for his political interests. He added that Mr Badal deliberately picked up a dispute with Mr Tohra for his personal gains.

He alleged that the Chief Minister had used the police force to sabotage the rally. He added that workers were lathicharged and hundreds of them had been detained by the police.

He announced that a rally would be held at Dhaliwal village in the Majha region on April 8. He added that rallies would also be held at Chandigarh, on March 9 and at Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib.

Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Prem Singh Lalpura, Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Mr Ajit Inder Singh Moffar, Mr Harmel Singh Tohra, Mr Teja Singh Badal. (uncle of Mr Parkash Singh Badal) Mr Sanjam Singh Dhillon, sarpanch, Badal village, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, kisan leader, Mr Jagtar Singh Rajla, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra and Mr Paramjit Singh (Lolli Dadal) were present on the occasion.

Other resolutions read on the rally condemned the hike in prices of fertilisers, killing of two Dalit youths in the police firing at Jethuke village in Bathinda district, ignorance of the Punjab’s interest in the railway budget, ignorance of the state’s demands by the Akali leadership, setting up of Anandgarh city and increasing unemployment in the state.


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