The Shiromani Akali Dal on Monday decided to postpone its September 15 rally by a day and also shifted its venue from Kotkapura to Faridkot. The Akali Dal said that its rally at Faridkot was part of the “party’s campaign to expose the unholy alliance between the Congress party and radical elements” in the “same town”.
A senior leader of Shiromani Akali Dal told The Indian Express on Monday that discussions were held with SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal over “changing the venue of Kotkapura rally to Faridkot and postponing the rally in the wake of September 19 Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections”.
The leader, however, said Sukhbir had reservations that changing the venue and postponing the rally could prove detrimental to SAD.
The SAD leader said that during discussions it came up that “mischievous elements may play spoilsport” if the rally was held at scheduled venue of Kotkapura.
Sources said that senior SAD leaders also demanded that the September 15 rally should be postponed as party leaders and electorate will be busy for the September 19 elections.
After Sunday’s rally at Abohar, September 15 rally was the second big rally scheduled by the SAD against Congress government and Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission report.
Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission report tabled in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha last month had indicted former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in connection with October 14, 2015 Kotkapura firing. The Commission’s report observed that Badal was “not only in touch with district administration but was in touch with (then) DGP (Sumedh Singh Saini) as well and was quite aware about the situation developing at Kotkapura and also about the proposed action by the police.”
Badal in a statement had denied having passed any order for use of force at Kotkapura.
Earlier in the day, senior SAD leader and former Cabinet minister Tota Singh, had told The Indian Express,”We were making preparations for the Kotkapura rally and had made arrangements for buses to ferry people to Kotkapura.” The former legislator of Dharamkot in Moga district, had added that location wise, Kotkapura would have been better for people coming to rally from Moga side.
In the evening, a press release by SAD quoting party secretary Charanjit Singh Brar said rally would be held on September 16 at Faridkot Dana Mandi.
Talking to The Indian Express earlier in the day, Brar had said that September 15 rally was scheduled to be held in Kotkapura.
At Abohar on Sunday too, it was announced from stage that senior SAD leaders who could not address the gathering would get a chance during Kotkapura rally.
Sources claimed that while rescheduling the September 15 rally “another date which was considered for the rally after elections was September 23, but was dropped due to Baba Farid Mela”. September 23 will be the concluding day of Baba Farid Mela which will commence on September 19.