THE SHIROMANI Akali Dal (SAD) led by party president Sukhbir Singh Badal and patron Parkash Singh Badal is likely to seek forgiveness from the Akal Takht for any “inadvertent mistakes” it may have committed in the past.
Sources said the matter was discussed at length in a SAD core committee meeting here Thursday, adding that SAD may have an Akhand Path for the same at Akal Takht commenced on Saturday (December 8).
SAD has faced sharp criticism for long now over desecration of Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari in 2015 and subsequent incidents of police firing on anti-desecration protesters, in which two protesters were killed in Behbal Kalan on October 14, 2015. The party tasted one of the worst defeats in its electoral history in 2017 Assembly elections, when its tally in 117-member Vidhan Sabha was reduced to 15, with new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) taking over the role of main opposition.
Former Taksali Akali leaders Ranjit Singh Brahampura, Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Rattan Singh Ajnala, who have now announced a parallel Akali Dal, blame incidents of desecration and police firing and inaction by government at that time for the poor show of SAD in 2017 elections. After the revolt, the trio have already sought forgiveness from Akal Takht for any mistakes they might have committed during their political journey. Another SAD veteran, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who quit all party posts “on health grounds” had also sought forgiveness from Akal Takht.
Incidentally, December 8, the day which is being considered by the SAD to commence Akhand Path is the birthday of Parkash Singh Badal. He will turn 91 on December 8.
Sources said SAD had earlier planned to seek forgiveness from Akal Takht on the foundation day of the party. But, since the winter session of the Vidhan Sabha is from December 13 to 15, discussions were held Thursday in core committee to advance the date.
While at least four core committee members said “an Akhand Path on behalf of party” was likely to commence at Akal Takht on December 8, one member said no final decision had been taken.
“The decision which is final as of now is to get Akhand Paths commenced in each constituency on December 12 and completed by December 14, on the party’s foundation day anniversary.
A statement by SAD after the core committee meeting said the committee decided to “commemorate the Sthapna Diwas (Foundation Day) of the party on December 14 at Akal Takht and during the course of which it will honour old workers who have made sacrifices for the party. The party rank and file will also observe the ‘sthapana divas’ in each constituency in the State by commencing Akhand Path in one gurdwara in each constituency of the State.”
Meanwhile, the SAD core committee also decided to take part in the state-wide ‘nagar kirtan’ to be organised by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to mark the celebrations of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. The ‘nagar kirtan’ with relics of Guru will start simultaneously from all the three Sikh Takths in Punjab and will culminate at Sultanpur Lodhi within a time span of three months.
In the meeting presided over by party president Sukhbir Badal, the core committee also condemned the clean chit given to the family of Local Bodies Minister Navjot Sidhu in the Amritsar train accident case magisterial inquiry, saying only “an independent judicial inquiry could bring out the truth”. The committee also demanded sugarcane growers dues be settled with interest. It also sought immediate release of dearness allowance to government employees.
It also welcomed “the initiative taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to build the Kartarpur Corridor saying it was a moment of collective achievement for the entire Khalsa Panth and a moment of glory for the entire devout Nanak Naam Leva community”.