Thursday, November 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

J. S. Talwandi is new SGPC chief

AMRITSAR, Nov 30 (PTI) — Bibi Jagir Kaur, charged with murder of her daughter, was today replaced as President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), by Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi. 

Bibi Jagir Kaur’s exit from the top of the most important Sikh religious body came amidst drama when she was presiding over the general body meeting. A slip from the Akali Dal president and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal proposing Talwandi’s name changed the scenario instantly as the SHSAD president G.S. Tohra, Mr Badal’s rival, supported it. 

Mr Talwandi, a senior Akali Dal (Badal) leader and a former president, was unanimously elected. Denial of another term for Jagir Kaur was on the cards ever since the CBI set out on her trail after the mysterious death of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur, in April this year. The demand for her removal picked up momentum after the CBI changed the charge against her in the FIR to murder. 



An experienced Akali warrior
By P.D. Mohindra

(This profile of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi was published in The Tribune dated 29.8.1977)

CHANDIGARH, August 28 — Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, M.P., 47, new President of the Akali Dal, belongs to a family which has been in Akali politics for quite some years.

Jathedar Shanga Singh, father of Mr Jagdev Singh, was a big landlord of Mullanpur village in Lyallpur district (now in Pakistan) and a renowned participant in all Sikh morchas, including those of Guru Kal Bagh, Gangsar, Jaitu Nabha, Nankana Sahib and Duska. His picture hangs in the Museum and Art Gallery of the S.G.P.C. at Amritsar.

Mr Jagdev Singh's father had once donated 12.5 acres of land in the late Giani Kartar Singh to enable him to become a "man of property". He was a member of the Lyallpur District Board. For his agitational role, his lambardari, which entitled him to a free land holding of 25 acres, was forfeited. His gun was also confiscated. When no one in the village accepted the lambardari, the Government was forced to pass it on to his nine-year-old son.

After Independence, Mr Jagdev Singh settled at Talwandi village in Ludhiana district, and was unanimously elected sarpanch. He has been always active in Akali politics and has courted arrest in all Punjabi Suba morcahas, along "with his brother, Master Dev Raj Singh, who is now a member of the Punjab Assembly.

In 1960 and 1965 he was chosen a member of the S.G.P.C. In 1967 he was elected a member of the Punjab Assembly with the biggest lead in the State. He won elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1969 and 1972 and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977 with a margin of over a lakh of votes.

He always wears a black turban. His infectious smile conceals his determination and outspokenness. He was appointed senior Vice-President of the Akali Dal on the death of Sant Fateh Singh, and has been a member of the Akali Dal Working Committee since 1960.

He was Minister of State for Development and Animal Husbandry in the Gurnam Singh Ministry, and was also unanimously elected Leader of the Akali Legislature Party in 1967. He was Minister of State for Jails, Sports and Transport in the last Parkash Singh Badal Ministry.

As was known before, both Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the S.G.P.C.  and Mr Parkash Singh Badal were supporting him actively for the powerful office of Akali Dal President. Today's election, as expected, was a mere formality.

On finding the Dal Presidentship slipping out of his hands Mr Mohan Singh Tur, last President of the party, tried to create confusion and precipitate matters, but Mr Parkash Singh and Mr Gurcharan Singh handled the situation with tact and were able to avoid a split in the party.

Mr Jagdev Singh was also the dictator of the Karnal morcha for the restoration of civil liberties in Haryana. He was in the first Jatha against the Emergency and courted arrest on July 9, 1975. He spent 19 months in jail.

On Mr Mohan Singh Tur's indisposition in April 1977, Mr Jagdev Singh was appointed Acting President of the Akali Dal. As a member of the Dal Parliamentary Board and chief of the party, he undertook long tours and hectic canvassing and helped it win 58 out of 116 Punjab Assembly seats and form a coalition Government with the Janata Party.

He is likely to activate the Dal and make it more radical in outlook. His practical experience in politics will stand him in good stead.



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