Thursday, November 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Decision left to Badal
Josh raises banner of revolt
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Nov 29 — Amid a walkout, staged by a veteran SGPC member, Mr Puran Singh Josh, the SAD office-bearers and SGPC members, today unanimously authorised Mr Parkash Singh Badal to nominate the candidate for the election of SGPC President, scheduled for tomorrow.

The meeting of SGPC members and SAD office-bearers ended in less than half an hour as the ordinary members were ‘not allowed’ to express their views. Like the political affairs committee (PAC) meeting, today’s meeting also authorised Mr Badal to decide the candidature, which led to resentment among senior members of the Shiromani committee.

Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Mr Kanwaljit Singh, both SAD General Secretaries, said that as per party tradition, it was the prerogative of the party president to take final decisions on vital issues.

Interestingly, Bibi Jagir Kaur, President of the SGPC, said she would accept any decision taken by Mr Badal. “Mr Badal, being my godfather, could take any decision, including my political future”, she announced.

However, Mr Badal said it was extremely difficult to decide the candidature for SGPC chief as authorised by the House. He said had it been time for Cabinet expansion, I could have inducted five or six more ministers. However, so far as nomination for presidentship was concerned, he did not have many options. He, however, sought forgiveness from the members in anticipation of the displeasure some of them might feel over the nomination.

Mr Badal, replying a question, said there won’t be any acting president of the SGPC, a rumour floated by some vested interests. He said sad would nominate a full-fledged president of the body. When asked if he would nominate a clean person as president, Mr Badal refuse to disclose anything. “Somebody may be tainted in your eyes despite his good image”, he said.

Talking to newsmen after the meeting, Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “I assure the Panth and all concerned that I shall accept every decision of Mr Badal”. She said she was pleased to notice the unanimity among members and office-bearers of the SAD in authorising Mr Badal to nominate the candidate. She claimed that she was not in the race for presidentship of the SGPC.

Mr Josh, who staged a walkout from the meeting, said that the SGPC members were not listening to their conscience where Bibi Jagir Kaur was concerned. He said he wanted to express his views that Bibi Jagir Kaur should not be repeated as SGPC President. “I was stopped from expressing my views”, Mr Josh said adding that he would vote against the ruling party if the Bibi was renominated. He further said he would also seek an inquiry into the alleged embezzlements and irregularities during her tenure. 

A veteran Akali leader, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, had asked Mr Badal to listen to the views of members who had come from far-flung areas. However, his appeal went unheeded. Later, while talking to TNS, Mr Talwandi said he was not in the race for presidentship of the party. He, however, said if Mr Badal would nominate him for post, he would happily serve the Panth.

He claimed that Mr Balbir Singh Pannu, Senior Vice-President of the SGPC, who was sitting with him, should have been made acting president of the SGPC after the registration of a CBI case against Bibi Jagir Kaur as he (Mr Pannu) had played a major role during tug-of-war between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra.

Before the meeting ended, Mr Badal directed the SGPC members not to meet him in the Circuit House, where he would stay today, to lobby for nomination. “You can meet me tomorrow morning”, he said.

Mr Pannu said he was now not in the race for SGPC presidentship. He however, said Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, officer on special duty to Mr Badal, Mr Hardalbir Singh Shah, General Secretary, SGPC, and Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi could be among the shortlisted aspirants for the post. Mr Pannu, who was a critic of Bibi Jagir Kaur, said he would also accept any candidate nominated by Mr Badal. He said the Political Affairs Committee, which was the supreme decision-making body of the party, had already authorised Mr Badal to nominate the candidate and this decision could not be challenged.

The local police had made elaborate security arrangements for the meeting. All exit and entry points of the meeting venue were sealed, putting the public to inconvenience.Back

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |