Chandigarh: A day after Delhi Shiromani Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Harmeet Singh Kalka said that he will form a separate Akali Dal, the revolt brewing in Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) particularly against the Badal family in Punjab, is out in the open. Saroop Chand Singla, MLA from Bhatinda (Urban) from 2012 to 2017 and once a close aide of the Badal family, has openly accused them of being in cahoots with Manpreet Singh Badal during the recently concluded Assembly elections where the party was routed.
“Sukhbir’s men were campaigning for his cousin Manpreet Badal who was up against me. I even confronted Sukhbir Badal on this. But he denied having done so. But later I myself saw his men accompanying Manpreet Singh Badal. And Manpreet was campaigning against his colleague and former transport minister Amarinder Singh Raja Warring from Gidderbaha,” Singla told India Ahead.
Raja Warring though won the elections by a margin of 1,000 votes, Warring, too, has openly accused the Badals of conspiring against him including his Congress colleague Manpreet Singh Badal.
Singla further said, “I am not part of the Akali Dal anymore.” When asked about his future course of action, he stated, “I will speak to my workers and supporters and depending upon their advice take the decision.”
Apart from Singla, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, a Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee member, also accused the Akali Dal and claimed that the party was adopting the Congress culture, hinting at Badals making it a one-family party.
“The innumerable sacrifices by Sikhs and their glorious history were forgotten by the present Akalis in pursuit of power and money. SGPC was manipulated, panthak maryada compromised, perhaps Waheguru has given us an opportunity to reconnect to our core – panth,” Kiranjot Kaur, the grand-daughter of Master Tara Singh, said.
Another SGPC member Baldev Singh Chunga also raised a banner of revolt against the Badals. He claimed that Akali Dal suffered at the hand of Badals who ignored the demands of Sikh Panth and fell into the hands of Dera.
But senior Akali leader and former Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema asserted that there was no rift in the SAD (B). “Some people are in a hurry. Let them be. There is absolutely no rift in Akali Dal. We are as strong as before and trying to analyse the reasons for the defeat,” he claimed when asked about Singla’s exit.
However, political scientist Prof Kanwalpreet pointed out Badals were living in a bubble and needed to realise that the water would not flow backwards. “I had a student from Lambi in my class who was absent for a couple of days. I quizzed him where he was all these days and he said that he was busy ensuring that Parkash Singh Badal loses from Lambi. Such is the sentiment of the youngsters. The younger lot in Punjab may not like the idea of a panthic party anymore. They want their bread and butter. And Akali Dal will have to slowly get used to this new narrative.”
Prof Mohammad Khalid, a keen watcher of Punjab politics, added that the crisis had deepened in the party. “First Dhindsa, Brahmpura, Ajnala, and Sekhwan went out after the 2017 elections. Now the crisis has deepened more with the DSGMC president saying it will form another Akali Dal and two SGPC members raising a banner of revolt. Sukhbir Singh Badal cannot take the party forward. Everybody is not with him. His brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia is in jail. They have four members in the Assembly and soon will lose the Rajya Sabha seats as well. And it is just the beginning of the end.”