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Shiromani Akali Dal rallies behind Sukhbir Badal 

Chandigarh/Gurdaspur, Oct 29

A day after Sukhbir Badal offered to step down as SAD president, if demanded by the party, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) core committee, which met in Chandigarh on Monday, endorsed his leadership. Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal too was present at the meeting that lasted over three hours. Sources in the party said the core committee members “stood firmly behind the party president”. There was no mention of the banner of revolt  raised by Taksali leaders Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, MP, former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and former MP Rattan Singh Ajnala.

In Gurdaspur, Sekhwan insisted that Sukhbir must step down, paving the way for the party’s reconstitution. “Sukhbir should resign so that the party can be recast. The party can be spared the ignominy of another drubbing in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, if we have a new leader. An old hand should be appointed the new chief,” Sekhwan contended.

He squarely blamed Bikram Singh Majithia for the SAD’s dismal show in the Assembly polls. “Bikram was born and brought up in Delhi and knows nothing about the party policies and goals”, he claimed.

“My father was the party chief when Parkash Singh Badal was in jail. I only want a change in leadership and due respect to senior leaders,” he emphasised.

Sekhwan and Brahmpura have quit party posts. A decision on their resignations pending, they were not invited to the core committee meeting. Another party MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who too has quit party posts, has chosen not to speak against the leadership. He was not invited either.” Since the party cadre and leaders are firmly behind Sukhbir Badal, what they (rebels) say is not significant,” remarked a senior member. The party had adopted the same approach while dealing with the rebellion by another party MP, Sher Singh Ghubaya, two years ago. The party claimed the core committee meeting on Monday was called to discus the “assault” on Sikh history. “Party leaders will perform ardas at Akal Takht on November 1 before launching a struggle against the Congress government for the assault on the image of the Sikh Gurus,” a leader said.

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