Thursday, June 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ousted MLAs pledge to remove Badal
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 14 — Expelled Akali legislators today vowed to oust the Chief Minister and Akali Dal president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal from power. Claiming that they are the genuine Akalis and had made bigger contribution to the Akali politics. They alleged that Mr Badal had ignored development, helped corruption to increase and developed his personal fiefdom. 

“It is the money that rules in Punjab. Law and order has broken down and a family is at the root of all this. Akal Takht has been denigrated and the SGPC president behaves like an autocrat”, these MLAs alleged.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Mr Baldev Singh Khiala, Mr Harmel Singh Tohra, Mr Inderjit Singh Zira and others spoke to the mediapersons at Chandigarh Press Club here today.

The MLAs alleged, “There was no democracy in the party. The leader of the party in the Assembly is so scared that he has not called any meeting for months. Again, there was no mention of the political affairs committee in the Akali Dal’s constitution, but the PAC takes all important decisions including the expulsion of the MLAs,” they alleged.

“Mr Badal takes pride that he believes in justice. How come Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC president is asked to appear before Akal Takht and she defies this order of the PAC and instead the Akal Takht chief is sacked? Mr Badal has reduced Akal Takht to a plaything and he shall have to pay price on it very soon”, Mr Ravi Inder Singh declared.

There were other allegations by Mr Khiala, a long time Akali leader from the Bathinda belt who said, “first the government does not have money in its kitty and whatever it can spare is eaten away by the officers who are in league with the ruling party politicians. Take the case of drainage or canals, crores of rupees have been pocketed. “If we protest and expose , we are expelled from the Akali Dal. The Speaker is told to throw us out of the Assembly”.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh when asked how much support he expected from the BJP, a coalition partner, he said he would not like to comment on this. “But we have their support,” see, the Akali Dal is the main party in the coalition government. We have to decide who is our leader and then only the BJP support would be needed. But we have enough support from that party”, he said. He refused to disclose anything further saying that would be premature.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh who has emerged as the leader of the 14 MLAs also said that his family has made great contribution to the Akali Dal. He was referring the first Defence Minister of free India, Mr Baldev Singh who was his uncle and others. “Who is Mr Badal to expel us from the Akali Dal? It is not his property and we have made much bigger contribution even before the present Chief Minister entered politics. We shall continue to be Akalis as we are the true adherents to its philosophy and ethics”, he declared.

Mr Mahesh Singh Grewal said, “Mr Badal has brought total ruin to the Akali Dal and Punjab. See what happened to the party during the elections. Even where (Faridkot) we pumped the entire resources of Punjab was lost by the Chief Minister’s son. Now law and order has broken down. Every day in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and in other places small children are kidnapped and done to death. There is no fear as the Chief Minister has lost any moral authority to rule the state.”

Mr Ravi Inder Singh when asked about has friends in the Congress he said, “I have only one friend in the Congress and he would remain so even if he joins any other party. Was he not forced to leave the Akali Dal by Mr Badal? He (Capt Amarinder Singh) had joined the Akali Dal and left the Congress when the Darbar Sahib was attacked. And how has Mr Badal treated him”; he asked.

These Akali MLAs raised the issue of phone tapping. Mr Ravi Inder Singh said he could understand the CID fellows shadowing the MLAs or camping outside his residence in Sector 10 for the past many months. But how come the telephones are being tapped. This a clear infringement on the right to privacy, he added.

In fact, both former advocate generals, Mr Gurdarshan Singh Grewal and another advocate Mr Karam Chand said that a formal notice has been served on the Spice Telecom for violating the privacy by tapping the telephone of Ravi Inder Singh. 

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