Akali Dal continues in free fall mode as Brahmpura too quits party posts

Chandigarh, October 23: Seemingly desperate, ninety plus 5-time chief minister and Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal is back in total command thereby virtually expressing lack of confidence in the leadership of his son Sukhbir Singh Badal as senior leader Ranjit Singh Brahmpura too resigned from the party posts today.

Once known as ‘Majhe Da Jarnail’, former MP Brahmpura was senior vice-president and the highest core committee member of the Shiromani Akali Dal. He is 81, much younger to Parkash Singh Badal.

Brahmpura cited health and old age as the reasons. He is openly critical on the Badals approach to Bargari sacrilege.

The Akali Dal landed into crisis when feeling humiliated, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa quit as party’s secretary general and core committee member. Two senior leaders from Majha including former MP Dr Rattan Singh and former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan too have expressed disgust over the party functioning. They also cite sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari, the issue that returned to hit the Badals after report of Justice Ranjit Singh Commission was laid on the table in Punjab Assembly and discussed. The Akali Dal had boycotted the Assembly that day saying the commission report on sacrilege was politically motivated. That strategy boomeranged.

Badal had almost retired from active life but returned  with Abohar rally when the party was pushed to the wall in the wake of upsurge of anger among the Sikhs on the issue of Bargari sacrilege in 2015 and resignation by Dhindsa acting as catalyst.

Manjit Singh, another Akali Dal senior vice-president from Majha had joined Bargari Insaaf Morcha stage on October 14, the 3rd anniversary of killing of two persons as Behbal Kalan in police firing who were protesting peacefully against sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib.

Badal today led the Akali Dal-BJP delegation on rail accident to Governor V P Singh Badnore. It was Badal who talked to media.

Akali Dal and  BJP are playing appalling politics over dead bodies. The main target of attack of these two parties are local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu. She was the chief guest at the Dussehra celebration at Dhobi Ghat along the railway line where the train tore into the revellers killing 59 men, women and children going by the official count.

These parties are demanding Sidhu’s resignation and registration of a case against his wife. However, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has been let off with milder criticism. It is too well known that Capt Amarinder Singh and Sidhu are not on the same page on several issues. Sidhu has made his differences public repeatedly. He is known for proximity to Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

It is Badal leading this delegation that is interesting. The all out efforts by Badals apparently is to divert the political discourse that is presently focussed on Bargari. However, that issue can’t be countered by such  diversionary tactics. The guilt should be owned.

The issue is not only that of sacrilege and police firing on protesters but also the pardon secured by Badals for Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim by pressuring the Sikh clergy as part of the vote bank politics. The sacrilege has been traced to devotees of Ram Rahim.

Giani Gurbachan Singh, who was then Akal Takht Jathedar, has now been replaced by another Badal acolyte Giani Harpreet Singh, chief of Takht Damdama Sahib who has been given officiating charge of Akal Takht Jathedar.

So far as Badal returning to active politics after Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report release is concerned, it is pertinent to mention that unlike in UP where Mulayam Singh Yadav yielded space to his son Akhilesh Yadav as the chief minister, he kept Sukhbir as under study in the capacity of deputy chief minister. It is a different matter was Sukhbir had the de facto powers.

Now Badal has again taken over the party reins that does not emanate the right signals and raises questions over Sukhbir’s capability to deal with the present crisis.

Jagtar Singh

+91-9779711201

jagtarsingh201@gmail.com

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