On this Bandi Chhod Divas, hope for pro-people leadership to emerge in Punjab

Chandigarh, November 6: Punjab today stands badly damaged.

Successive leadership over the years has betrayed and battered the comparatively progressive people in this once the most prosperous region.

The stage through which the state is presently passing through too is unprecedented. It is the opposition that is in total disarray.

The happiest person should be Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh. There is none to challenge him at the political level or question his governance. The space that should belong to the opposition is vacant.

The opposition is in churning process, whether it is the Akali Dal that is suffering from self-inflicted critical injuries in the process of searching new identity or the once the hope of Punjab that is Aam Aadmi Party that has been dealt severe blow by its own careerist leaders with bloated ego.

Punjab is waiting for a pro-people and committed leader to emerge, one can’t say from where. It has been a long wait.

Once all powerful Akali Dal president and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is confronted with challenge to his leadership, not from outside but from within the party. It is to be seen whether his father and 5-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal succeeds in shielding his son or not.

The issues that have acted as catalyst to his leadership are too serious.

It is party MP and the so-called Taksali leader from Majha Ranjit Singh Brahmpura who ultimately has focussed on the main issue while launching full throttle attack on Generation Next leadership.

The real issue is the unpardonable sin of pardon that Badal Senior and Badal Junior procured for Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in 2015 by summoning Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and his associates to official residence of the chief minister in Chandigarh. The pardon was part of the vote bank politics.

In brief, Badals traded Sikh institutions for votes. It might take years for these institutions to recover from the damage and that too, if there is a change in leadership. This is a big if.

Both sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and the police firing at Behbal Kalan on Sikh protesters killing two persons are the issues that are part of the governance domain. However, the issue of pardon is religio-political and Badals are directly involved in it.

It is the pardon issue that calls for accountability.

The rebels in the Akali Dal are taking the cover of these issues to demand change in leadership.

It is the Bargari agitation demanding action against all those responsible for sacrilege and police firing that has strengthened the voices of dissent in Akali Dal.

Sukhbir Badal took this agitation lightly in the beginning and slammed its leaders as agents of the ISI and the Congress.

AAP has been hit hard  by internal power struggle leading to split. This split is not over any pro-people issue.

AAP had emerged as the main opposition in 2017 Assembly election relegating the Akali Dal to third position but failed to perform that role with its leaders confining themselves mainly to issuing statements, addressing press conferences or going Live.

This is not pro-people politics.

The opposition in Punjab is in churning process.

One section of people is now looking towards Bargari Insaaf Morcha for some new leadership to emerge. Bargari is emerging as the most crucial factor in this churning process.

There is talk of third front comprising the political parties that are part of Bargari Insaaf Morcha, dissident AAP, Lok Insaaf Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and other such groups.

It is not necessary to merge into one party. It can be evolved as effective opposition conglomerate minus the Akali Dal and official AAP.

However, Punjab needs a leader who is effective and pro-people.

The next few months would be crucial.

Would this long wait for Godot end in the next few months? Time is short.

Diwali is celebrated as Bandi Chhod Divas by the Sikhs as it was on this day that the Sixth Lord, Guru Hargobind, donned the role of Deliverer while coming out of Gwalior fort where he was interned.

Hope that Punjab makes a new beginning on this Bandi Chhod Divas.

Jagtar Singh


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