The Shiromani Akali Dal Wednesday announced reconstitution of its core committee by inducting 12 more leaders into the party’s highest decision body “to give due representation to all sections of the society” but did not assign any role to several senior leaders who had questioned party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal’s leadership.
In what is being seen as a move to placate the dissenting voices, the SAD also announced the setting up of an 8-member advisory board to party chief and designated five-time Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal as its chief patron and veteran leader Ranjit Singh Brahampura as patron.
The move comes almost four months after the SAD had dissolved its organizational structure in pursuance of the recommendations of the Jundhan Committee formed to analyse the reasons for the party’s humiliating defeat in the 2022 Punjab Assembly polls.
Notable among the new members in the 25-member core committee are party MLA Dr Sukhwinder Sukhi and former MLA Pawan Kumar Tinu. A notable omission is Dakha MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali, who has not been inducted in the core committee or advisory panel. Ayali, one of the three party leaders to have won the 2022 Assembly polls — the third being Ganieve Kaur Majithia, wife of party heavyweight Bikram Singh Majithia — had sought the implementation of the recommendations of the Jhundan panel, and had even spoken about change in the party leadership.
Reached for comments, Ayali said, “We are loyal soldiers of party. I have no objection. There is no personal interest. I will continue to work for the party.”
A newly-inducted core committee member said that Sukhi and Tinu have probably found a place in the party’s highest decision making body as they represent Dalit community.
“The Dalit vote bank did not pay the anticipated dividends to the Akali Dal in elections. There should have been more young faces and dyed in wool Akali leaders in the core committee,” the leader said requesting not to be named.
Meanwhile, the Akali Dal, in a statement, said that the party has been “given a new look by inducting talent from all sections of society into its core committee which has been expanded to 25 with the induction of 12 more leaders”.
“In a first, the party has made the president of the Youth Akali Dal (YAD) and the Istri Akali Dal ex-officio members of the core committee to bring in more cohesion in decision making,” read the statement.
“The party has also given due representation to all sections of society. New entrants include former minister Anil Joshi and N K Sharma besides Dr Sukhwinder Sukhi and Pawan Kumar Tinu. Backward classes leader Sunita Chaudhary has also been inducted into the core committee,” it further read.
The core committee members are: SAD chief, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief, senior leaders Balwinder Singh Bhundar, Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Gulzar Singh Ranike, Sikandar Singh Maluka, Anil Joshi and Janmeja Singh Sekhon, The other members of the committee are Daljit Singh Cheema, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Bikram Singh Majithia, Surjit Singh Rakhra, Hira Singh Gabria, N K Sharma, Iqbal Singh Jhundan, Sukhwinder Sukhi, Gurpartap Singh Wadala, Pawan Kumar Tinu, Virsa Singh Valtoha, Gurbachan Singh Babbehali, Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, Sunita Chaudhary and presidents of YAD and IAD.
The members the advisory board to the party chief are Charanjit Singh Atwal, Kirpal Singh Badungar, Bibi Upinderjit Kaur, Baldev Singh Mann, Madan Mohal Mittal, Parkash Chand Garg, Vir Singh Lapoke, Varinder Singh Bajwa and Jarnail Singh Wahid.