May 21, 2022 10:46:48 am
Three-time MLA and a dyed-in-wool Akali Dal leader ‘Jathedar’ Tota Singh (81) passed away at a private hospital in Mohali on Saturday.
Family sources said that he was suffering from complications that arose from lung pneumonia since February. He was re-admitted to the hospital two days back after complaints of breathlessness and other issues.
Having won the polls two times from Moga and once from Dharamkot, he was a close confidant of SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal. He had also participated in several ‘morchas’ led by Akali Dal for rights of Punjab and had been jailed over it.
Former education and agriculture minister during different tenures of the SAD government, he had started his political career as sarpanch of his village Didar Singh Wala in the Nihal Singh Wala division of Moga district.
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Tota Singh was one of the oldest candidates in the Punjab elections this year and had contested from Dharamkot on an SAD ticket but lost to AAP.
A former member of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), he was known as ‘jathedar’ for being one of the senior-most Akali Dal leaders in Punjab.
In 2012, he was convicted in a corruption case for alleged misuse of an official vehicle and sentenced to a year of imprisonment. The Punjab and Haryana High Court later suspended the sentence. In 2015, during his tenure as agriculture minister, there was a massive cotton crop failure in Punjab due to whitefly and alleged distribution of spurious pesticides.
Another case of alleged bungling in recruitment of peons in the education department against him was pending before Mohali court.
He is survived by wife, three sons and a daughter. One of his sons, Barjinder Singh Makhan Brar, is also with the SAD.
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