The Shiromani Akali Dal Monday said the suspended party MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and his son Parminder Singh Dhindsa were being used as “pawns” by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in a bid to weaken the “panthic” party.
“The cat is out of the bag. The Dhindsa faction, which consists of Dhindsa, his son Parminder and son in law Tejinderpal Singh Sidhu only, are being feted and supported by Congress with the sole aim of splitting the panthic votes,” SAD leaders Balwinder Singh Bhundur and Prem Singh Chandumajra said in a statement
The Dhindsas, who have publicly criticised SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, were suspended on Saturday for “anti-party activities”. On Sunday, three Punjab ministers – Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, and Gurpreet Singh Kangar – had slammed the Akali Dal leadership alleging the opposition party “had been reduced to the personal fiefdom of the Badals”.
The ministers had also said that the “Dhindsas have openly revolted against the stifling control of SAD by the Badals, declaring their intent to liberate the party from the family and revive its lost glory.”
The Akali Dal leaders said that “the closeness between Sukhdev Dhindsa and the CM had become apparent during a recent dinner meeting between the two”. “Now with ministers taking on the job of spokespersons for the Dhindsa family, it is clear that they are working as per a fixed game plan in collusion with each other,” they said, adding the the entire rank and file of the SAD was solidly behind party chief Sukhbir Badal.
“The truth is that no one had left the SAD to join the Dhindsa faction. As many as 11 SGPC members from Sangrur and Barnala are standing rock solid with the SAD. Even the four circle presidents nominated by the Dhindsa family recently have chosen to side with the SAD,” they said.
Akali leaders said instead of trying to form a broad alliance with the Congress to take on the SAD, Sukhdev Dhindsa should first explain his own conduct to the people. “Isn’t it a fact that Dhindsa has won only one election in the past 35 years? Hasn’t the SAD under the leadership of Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal rewarded him with plum posts by nominating him to Rajya Sabha besides making him a central minister,” they asked.
The SAD leaders said Dhindsa had been demanding Sukhbir Badal’s resignation as SAD president after the party lost the assembly election but was silent about his own accountability.
“Why didn’t you ever offer your resignation as secretary general of the SAD, a post which is only second to the president? Did you ever say you won’t ask for a Rajya Sabha berth,” they asked, adding “whether it was morally correct for him to backstab the party, which had given him so much?”.
‘Dhindsa and son opportunists, acting on Cong’s cue’
Ludhiana: Leader of the SAD Legislature Party in the Punjab Assembly, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Monday termed Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Dhindsa and his son and former minister, Parminder Dhindsa, as “opportunists”. Dhillon was made the leader of SAD after Dhindsa junior had resigned from his post. A function was organised in Ludhiana on Monday to honour him for getting this post.
“Dhindsa and his son have proved to be opportunists. They remained in SAD when the party was in power. They didn’t find any faults with the party at that time. But now when we are out of power..they are criticising the party. They are giving signals to align with Congress as yesterday three Congress ministers gave statement in their support. They are getting direction from Congress for their actions and statements.”
He reiterated that Sukhdev Dhindsa, who had occupied the post of secretary general of the party, was playing into the hands of the Congress party. “It is ironical that Sukhdev Dhindsa, who is utterly alone and does not enjoy the support of anyone in the Sangrur and Barnala party units, is now turning to the Congress party to give him a boost. This is most unbecoming of someone who was repeatedly given plum posts despite losing repeated elections,” he added.
Dhilon said the party was fully united under the leadership of its president Sukhbir Singh Badal and that even the Akali cadre from Sangrur and Barnala districts had shunned the Dhindsas’ outfit as they realised that it was being propped up by the Congress party to divide panthic votes. “Such conspiracies will not succeed as the people have understood the game plan and will shun the Dhindsa family, which is in fact a faction of the immediate family only as the people had rejected them earlier only,” he said.