A day after announcing the formation of a new party based on the constitution of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) founded in 1920, along with Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Rattan Singh Ajnala on Sunday, Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Khadoor Sahib, Ranjit Singh Brahampura, praised Congress minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor project, besides hailing late SAD veteran Kuldip Singh Wadala.
“There is no doubt that the governments of both countries should agree on these foreign policies, but the efforts of Sidhu have made it possible to finalise the corridor project. Sidhu, who is a very honest person, has good relations with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who decided to honour his wish. He played a key role in the Kartarpur corridor issue,” Brahmpura said, adding that efforts for long had been made by late Wadala.
“The efforts for long have been made in all respects to fulfill the demand by the community, especially by late Kuldip Singh Wadala who had founded Kartarpur Darshan Abhilakhi Sanstha. Several Sikhs joined him to demand the Kartarpur corridor. They also performed Ardaas (prayers) every month at the border along Dera Baba Nanak facing Gurdwara Kartarpur,” Brahmpura said in a statement on Monday.
Wadala’s son and sitting SAD MLA from Nakodar, Gurpartap Singh Wadala, said the efforts of Wadala Sahib, along with his langha sangat (Sikhs accompanying him to demand opening of corridor), have been recognised and appreciated by the community, Panthic circles and Guru Nanak naam leva sangat world over. “Anyone who sees this in the world of reality and honesty is depicting the true picture as it is expressing Sikh sentiments in right perspective,” he said.
Gurpartap added that though Akali leaders like Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Bikram Singh Majithia and Akal Takht jathedar (chief) did refer to his father for his efforts to get the corridor opened, but the “senior leadership of the party” did not give due credit to his contribution. “ When there is this credit thing going on involving Navjot Singh, the top leadership of the party (SAD) could have done a balancing act by praising the contribution of Wadala Sahib,” said the SAD MLA, adding that “Wadala Sahib used to say that ‘I am there or not, corridor will surely become a reality and will be opened for the pilgrims’. He led several jathas and met Pakistan leadership seeking opening of the corridor.”
At a press conference in Jalandhar a few days ago, Gurpartap had demanded that the corridor road in Indian side be named after his father for the efforts he made.
He had said he would approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi and SAD patron and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to seek naming of the road after his father.
SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema, when contacted, said the party acknowledged the 17-18 years’ efforts by Kuldip Singh to seek opening of the Kartarpur corridor. “Harsimrat Kaur Badal praised him for this on stage. She is among the top leadership of the SAD. In various TV debates, I have also praised efforts made by Wadala sahib,” said Cheema, adding that SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal had also praised him “several times”.