Tribune News Service
Muktsar, January 14
Akali Dal holds conference, other parties stay away
In the face of rebellion from senior party leaders, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has trained guns at party rebels, who have opened a front against party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal or the Badal family, and said it was wrong to call them Taksalis.
At the Maghi Mela here on Tuesday, Sukhbir spoke against Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, said people like him backstabbed the party that had always honoured them. “They cannot be referred to as Taksalis.”
In his 30-minute speech, he said, “I am speaking up today because questions are being raised on me and my family. We are not dictators. My father started his political career as a sarpanch. When he was the party president, he was the first one to be jailed and the last one to come out. Now, some people are calling themselves Taksalis, but they seem to have forgotten the sacrifices made by Badal saab. I want to tell them that a Taksali is someone who is loyal to his party.”
He further said, “I respect Dhindsa saab. Neither my father nor I ever said no to him. He lost all elections, barring one, in the past 30 years. In spite of that, Badal saab always gave him prestigious posts such as the chairman of some board or a corporation to keep his morale high. He even nominated for Rajya Sabha. He never found any fault with the SAD or Badal saab then.”
The SAD chief recounted a couple of more instances to buttress his claims. “Parminder, who is like my brother, had requested to change his Assembly constituency. I acceded to his request. Then Dhindsa saab sought ticket for his son-in-law from Mohali and I did not say no to him. That is another matter that he lost the elections. I never wanted to say this, but I am hurt as they call me a dictator now. I have played in Dhindsa saab’s lap and touch his feet even now.”
Later, Sukhbir trained his guns at Sewa Singh Sekhwan, secretary general of the SAD (Taksali). “He, too, won just one election in 30 years,” Sukhbir said.
On the alleged control of the Badals on the SGPC, he said, “Our Gurus gave us the principle of Miri-Piri, symbolising both worldly (political) and spiritual authority. Nonetheless, I want to clarify that the EC conducts the SGPC poll. Those spreading rumours (about Badals’ control over the SGPC) field their candidates. And what happens? They lose.”
The SAD chief also came down heavily on the state government. “To hide their blunders, Congress leaders are accusing the SAD for the increase in power tariff.”
‘Sukhbir to be CM in 2022’
Sikander Singh Maluka projected SAD chief Sukhbir Badal as the party’s CM candidate in the 2022 poll. Addressing the public, he said nobody could stop Sukhbir from becoming the CM.
SAD chief uses soft words for rivals
Sukhbir was soft on his rivals. He said Parminder Dhindsa was like his younger brother. “Manpreet Badal is my younger brother, who always speaks about khali khazana (empty coffers),” he said.
Women presence nil
There was hardly any women participation in the SAD’s rally. Neither a woman Akali leader attended the function nor any woman was present in the audience.
Rally venue waterlogged
The venue for the SAD’s Maghi Mela rally remained waterlogged on the second day on Tuesday. The crowd was thin earlier in the day, but gradually increased as the day progressed.
Bhunder makes mistake, again
Senior SAD leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder made a mistake in his speech while referring to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. But he was quick to rectify his mistake when his party colleague pointed it out. He also apologised. He had triggered a controversy in an Abohar rally in September 2018 by addressing former CM Parkash Singh Badal as “Badshah Darvesh”.
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