Former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Ranjit Singh Brahampura, who was one of the senior Akali leaders to publicly raise a banner of revolt against SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and subsequently went on to form the SAD (Taksali), on Wednesday said that Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa had “betrayed” him while floating a new political outfit.
Dhindsa and Brahampura had publicly questioned Sukhbir Badal and blamed him for the SAD drubbing in 2017 Assembly elections, in which the party finished third after Aam Aadmi Party, which emerged as the principal opposition to the Congress.
Dhindsa had on Tuesday announced a new political outfit in Ludhiana and named it ‘Shiromani Akali Dal’ even as SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema called it a “fraud” saying that SAD was a 100-year-old party and Dhindsa cannot legally name the new outfit as SAD.
Brahampura said Dhindsa “did not consult me before announcing the new political outfit. He has betrayed me”.
“I had even offered that Dhindsa become the chief of SAD (Taksali), which was formed at Akal Takht,” said Brahampura, adding that there may be a “political agenda” because of which Dhindsa did not accept the offer.
While Sukhdev Dhindsa was not available for comment, his son Parminder Singh Dhindsa said, “We were never part of SAD (Taksali). It is not a fight for a position in a political party, it is for benefit of Punjab and Punjabis and (Sukhdev Singh) Dhindsa sahib had requested all the Taksali leaders to unite. Where does the issue of betrayal come in this? We will still try and convince him (Brahampura) that for panthic interests, he should become an equal partner.”
He further said, “There are some people in between who are playing mischief. Some people who are in touch with Sukhbir Badal are trying to play politics.”
Brahampura meanwhile also lashed out at another rebel Akali leader and his aide Sewa Singh Sekhwan, saying that Sekhwan had earlier declared him (Brahampura) leader of SAD (Taksali) to take on Badals, and now he was putting his weight behind Dhindsa.
“Sekhwan Akal Takht da bhagaura hai (Sekhwan has defied what he said under the aegis of Akal Takht when SAD Taksali was formed),” said Brahampura.
Sekhwan was not available for comment.
Senior SAD leaders Balwinder Singh Bhundur and Tota Singh in a written statement also termed the “humiliation meted out to senior Akali Ranjit Singh Brahampura at the hands of Dhindsa most unfortunate”.
They said, “It was sad that this humiliation occurred at a time when the senior leader was admitted in PGI, Chandigarh.”
The Akali leaders said it had now also become clear that “Dhindsa did not become part of SAD (Taksali) as he wanted to project his son Parminder Dhindsa as a chief minister aspirant”.
The rebellions and expulsions
In November 2018, a SAD core committee had expelled three rebel veterans — Ranjit Singh Brahampura, Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Rattan Singh Ajnala — for “anti-party activities”. The trio had questioned the functioning of Sukhbir as party president.
The trio subsequently formed the SAD (Taksali), calling it the “real Akali Dal”.
SAD (Taksali) held a parallel function in December last year to commemorate the 99th foundation of SAD in which Dhindsa had participated. In February this year, SAD expelled rebel Dhindsa and his son Parminder.
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