12 ‘Rebel’ SAD Leaders To Press Badal To Implement ‘Jhunda Report’ On Party’s Poll Debacle

The report mentions change in leadership and fixed-term for president's post.

SAD Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal. (Image: ShiromaniAkaliDal Official Website)

Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) is witnessing rebellion within the party, and strangely till now, the response of the Akali Dal supremo Sukhbir Singh Badal has been a studied silence.

About a dozen leaders, including former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra attended a meeting over the non-implementation of the Jhunda committee report at the residence of Ravi Karan Singh Kahlon, the son of former Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon. The Iqbal Singh Jhunda committee was set up to look into the reasons for the poor show of Akali Dal during the Assembly polls concluded in March. While the report of the Jhunda committee has been prepared, its implementation is awaited.

The leaders present at the meeting included Dakha lawmaker Manpreet Singh Ayali, ex-MP Jagmeet Singh Brar, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee general secretary Karnail Singh Panjoli, former Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha Charanjit Singh Atwal, former MLAs Gurpratap Singh Wadala, Bhai Manjit Singh, Amarpal Singh Boney, Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, Jagjit Singh Kohli, and Santa Singh Umaidpuri.

To Ask Badal To Implement Jhunda Panel Report

At the meeting, it was decided that they would meet Sukhbir Singh Badal soon and discuss the implementation of the recommendations of the Jhunda panel. Also, change in the leadership in the 114 assembly constituencies and fixed-term for SAD president and that there should be a separate body for the SGPC will also be put up. It is pertinent to mention that Badal has been the party president for 10 years now. And on two occasions ever since he became the president the party has lost elections badly. His partyman, Jagmeet Brar had recently sought his resignation as party president for the dismal show of Akali Dal in 2022 polls.

Chandumajra Questions Sukbhir’s Intent

In the last week of July, Sukhbir Badal dissolved the party’s organisational structure, including the core committee, the highest decision-making body of the party, and other units of the party.

Immediately after the party units were dissolved, senior Akali leader Prem Singh Chandumajra questioned Badal’s intent. He asked why the Iqbal Singh Jhunda panel report was put up in the core committee bypassing the Balwinder Singh Bhunder-led 13-member committee.

The party had formed a 13-member committee headed by Bhunder. This was formed to analyse the inputs of the Iqbal Singh Jhunda panel report.

A sub-committee led by Iqbal Singh Jhunda was made to speed up the process and take feedback from party workers across the length and breadth of the state to ascertain what led to the party’s terrible loss in VS polls.

What Does The Jhunda Report Say

The report, interestingly, has recommended total changes at the organisational level in the Akali Dal. On whether the party president’s removal has been sought, Iqbal Singh Jhunda, the panel head said, “I can’t comment on the report which is a secret document.”

The report blames incidents of sacrilege in Burj and Bargari and subsequent police firing during the Akali regime in 2015 for the party’s debacle in the 2017 elections. In 2022, it could win only three seats. Also, the monopoly over the transport business of certain families is part of the report. The report has also recommended an unconditional apology regarding the incidents of sacrilege during the Akali regime.

SGPC Members Questioned Sukhbir

Earlier, after Akali Dal’s (Badal) loss in the Punjab Assembly elections, many current and former members of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) opened up a front against six-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Akali Dal supremo Sukhbir Singh Badal. “The two should step down immediately to save Shiromani Akali Dal,” Balwinder Bains, a member of the SGPC had then said. Also endorsing Bains’ view was Kiranjot Kaur, the former general secretary of SGPC.