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  India   All India  15 Dec 2018  Badals resort to penance politics for a comeback

Badals resort to penance politics for a comeback

Published : Dec 15, 2018, 7:19 am IST
Updated : Dec 15, 2018, 7:20 am IST

Photographs of top leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) doing sewa at the Golden Temple were seen in the media.

Sukhbir Singh Badal  (Photo: PTI)
 Sukhbir Singh Badal (Photo: PTI)

Chandigah: After rebel Akali leaders announced that they would form a new Akali Dal in Punjab, the Badal family, fearing a loss of grip over Akali politics, has resorted to penance politics. The Badal family was seen doing sewa recently in the Golden Temple where it apologised for inadvertently hurting the sentiments of anyone. There was a lot of criticism of the Badals after the 2015 Bargari firing upon peaceful agitators, protesting against the sacrilegious incident.

Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Singh Badal and daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur Badal sought atonement at the Golden Temple for “mistakes that might have been committed inadvertently during their rule”.

Besides the Badals, former minister Bikram Majithia, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhal Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal, SAD core committee members, former ministers, MLAs, halqa chiefs and SGPC members were present on the occasion.

In the “ardas” (prayer), it was read that during their (Badals’) stint, if “jaane/anjaane hoian bhulan” (mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly) while serving the Panth or Punjab, they should be forgiven.

Photographs of top leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) doing sewa at the Golden Temple were seen in the media.

Observers said that through the exercise the SAD leadership was trying to tell the people that the party had realised that it had committed some mistakes in the past.

Many people were surprised by the decision of the SAD leadership going in for this kind of “sewa” at the gurdwara. Clearly, they see it as an image management exercise as otherwise a penitent activity does not require a live telecast, a professor of political science in Chandigarh.

Observers feel that the “sewa” exercise is the result of the Badals losing grip over the Akali politics, especially at a time when rebel Akali leaders have called for a new Akali Dal.

There is a lot of churning within Akali Dal which is debating if there is space for another party in the state. The first announcement came from the Bargari Insaf Morcha, which has been at the forefront of the agitation against the state governments alleged failure to book people responsible for acts of sacrilege of holy texts. The second came from the rebels of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), who threatened to announce the formation of a party.

Bargari Morcha has been pledged support by United Akali Dal (UAD) and Akali Dal (Amritsar) besides Dal Khalsa and rebels of the Aam Aadmi Party like Sukhpal Singh Khaira.

Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Khadoor Sahib MP, who was a veteran leader of SAD (Badal), said the new “parallel party” would be based on Akali Dal’s original ideology of 1920. “We welcome even non-Akali parties that agree to our ideology,” Mr Brahmpura added.

Tags: sukhbir singh badal, bikram majithia