The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) elected Sukhbir Singh Badal as its president for the third time in row on the party’s 99th foundation day on Saturday.
The Ferozpur MP was re-elected at a gathering of office-bearers at the Teja Singh Samundri Hall in Amritsar.
However, SAD leader in the state Assembly and former minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa was absent from the function.
Former minister Tota Singh proposed Sukhbir’s name for the party president post and former MP Prem Singh Chadumajra and Jagmeet Singh Brar supported the proposal. No other name was proposed and Sukhbir Singh Badal was elected unanimously.
Prem Singh Chadumajra said that Sukhbir Singh Badal’s election was “democratic”.
Though Dhindsa himself did not give any reasons about his absence from the function, the party had to issue a statement that he remained absent due to some personal work.
SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “Parminder Dhindsa had rung up the SAD president two days back to disclose that he had to attend to urgent personal work in Mumbai and sought permission to miss the delegate session.”
Cheema also claimed that Dhindsa had during his conversation with the SAD president reposed “complete faith in his leadership as well as the policies and programmes of the party.”
Meanwhile, Dhindsa’s father and former Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhidsa joined the foundation day function held by Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali) and other factions.
During the event held in Amritsar, Sukhdev gave call to “revive democracy in SAD”.
“Now there is no democracy in party. We have to bring back democracy in party. What all we had expected from Sukhbir Singh Badal was to resign from president post after the party’s defeat in Assembly elections in 2017. But Sukhbir Singh Badal and his father Parkash Singh Badal declined the resignation. We had won over Parkash Singh Badal to seek apology from Sikh panth and Akal Takht after the sacrilege and also agreed him to promise proper investigation and punish the accused in sacrilege cases. Parkash Singh Badal had agreed initially but then he stepped back,” said Dhindsa.
Apart from Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, rebel leaders including Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, former minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, Manjit Singh GK and Paramjit Singh Sarna were also present on the stage.
After being elected as president, Sukhbir Singh Badal attacked Taksali Akalis and said,” SAD was the true representative party of the Panth. Efforts were being made by the Congress to prop up stooges like the self styled Taksali group which had already been rejected by the people. Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had rightly summed up the meaning of Taksali as someone who was loyal to his party which the so-called Taksalis were clearly not.”
“I will work with the vision of Mission 2022 to ensure victory of the SAD – BJP alliance in the next Assembly elections. I urge all party workers to work with maximum zeal for the welfare of the party. Congress and its chief minister had already betrayed the people with false oaths and total lack of sensitivity towards implementing any of the promises made to them,” said Sukhbir.
Defending the allegations of monopoly of Badal family over party, Sukhbir said, “In 53 years after formation of Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal ruled the state for more than 22 years and Parkash Singh Badal remained the CM for 19 years. Again, during this period, Parkash Singh Badal remained president for 12 years and I have been president for 12 years. During these 23 years, when either of us were the president, SAD ruled the state for 15 years.”