Chandigarh: In a clear vote of no-confidence in the leadership abilities of Shiromani Akali Dal’s supremo Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur says, Sukhbir Singh Badal isn’t the right person to lead the party. She even feels there is little chance of the party’s electoral fortunes reviving as long as Sukhbir remains at the helm.
In an exclusive interview to India Ahead News, days after she ignored the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) leadership’s call and mounted a high-decibel campaign to win the SGPC top post – she eventually lost to the candidate proposed by the party, Bibi Jagir Kaur clearly held Sukhbir responsible for the party’s mounting woes.
“After the loss in the elections, a survey was carried out across Punjab by Akali Dal itself, and in that, it was found that 90 per cent of those contacted including those at the zila pardhan level wanted change in the top leadership. In fact, barring two-three senior leaders everybody wanted a change. Instead, the party’s organisational structure was dissolved – this meant that all bodies, including the Core Committee, the Working Committee, the office bearers, and other units of the SAD (B) stood dissolved.” She added “only the president (Sukhbir Singh Badal) remained the functional head whereas he should have been the first one to go.”
Regarding the recently held SGPC elections, she says, “I lost because there were close to four to five SAD leaders escorting the SGPC member-voters till they had voted. The voters had almost turned into bandis.”
Jagir Kaur polled 42 votes in the elections that took place about 10 days ago while her rival Badal propped Harjinder Singh Dhami polled 104 votes.
Bibi says, “The fact that the SGPC president’s name is endorsed by the SAD supremo is proof of the interference of the Badals in the day-to-day affair of the SGPC.”
“Badalsaab kisi vi tarah di dakhalandaazi chhad den SGPC vich, taan sab dheek ho jaau (Sukhbir Badal should stop all kind of interference in SGPC and things will be fine). She adds, “Personally speaking, I am not against the SGPC. SGPC is very important for the Sikhs since it is the highest religious body of the Sikhs. But we have to keep politics out of the religious affairs.”
In fact, there are many people close to Sukhbir Singh Badal, who Jagir Kaur said she does not want to name, and they are always sitting on his right and left of Badal, and speaking on his behalf. Those very people too agree that Badal should not be at the helm, she says.
Notably, Bibi Jagir Kaur herself was a product of lifafa culture — the practice of announcing the SGPC president hours before the elections by the SAD. For a long time, she was believed to be the proxy of the Badals. She has been a three-time ex-SGPC Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee president.
She was a mathematics teacher at Government Senior Secondary School, Begowal before she forayed into politics. Kaur was handed the charge of Dera Sant Prem Singh Murarewale by her father-in-law Bawa Harnam Singh. The huge influence of the dera ensured her meteoric rise in politics.
Bibi Jagir Kaur also remained in jail after she was accused of the murder of her daughter Harpreet Kaur who had eloped with her husband Kamaljit. Her death was widely reported as a case of honour killing– was gotten executed by none other than the mother –Jagir Kaur. Later though, the court absolved her of all the charges.