Infighting plagues SAD over posts of halqa in-charges in Amritsar
The infighting assumes added significance in the light of former MLA Amarpal Singh Bony’s recent rejoining of the party.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is facing a tug-of-war between its leaders in the Ajnala assembly constituency and in the Baba Bakala segment. The infighting assumes added significance in the light of former MLA Amarpal Singh Bony’s recent rejoining of the party.
The party has, informally, changed the assembly constituencies of some of its leaders in the Majha region. Under this, former Jandiala Guru MLA Malkit Singh AR, who unsuccessfully contested the 2017 assembly polls on a SAD ticket from Baba Bakala segment, spread across Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts has been sent back to the adjoining Jandiala Guru segment. “His son, Sandeep Singh AR, is likely to get the party ticket in next assembly elections from here,” Virsa Singh Valtoha, party spokesperson and district president, Tarn Taran, told HT.
Another senior leader, on condition of anonymity, told HT that the reins of Baba Bakala have been given to former MLA Manjit Singh Manna. Manna had unsuccessfully contested 2017 assembly polls from Sri Hargobindpur. He was elected Baba Bakala MLA in 2012 and had also been Khadoor Sahib (reserved) MLA twice, in 2002 and 2007. The senior leader claimed that the party had asked Manna to focus on the constituency to ensure his victory.
This, however, is facing opposition from Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member from Baba Bakala and former Jandiala Guru MLA Baljit Singh Jalal Usma.
“He (Manna) is self-styled halqa in-charge and the campaign he has started in the segment is nothing, but false propaganda. He is misleading people. He took workers of the segment to party conference at Mela Rakhar Punia and protest rally at Raja Sansi, claiming that he would be announced as halqa in-charge on these occasions. This, however, did not happen,” Usma said. Usma is also staking claim over a party ticket for next assembly elections. Usma told HT, “Most office-bearers in the segment are with me. The party will give its reins to the leader who has the largest support of residents in the constituency.”
Manna refused to comment on Jalal Usma, saying, “I am serving the party in the constituency.”
Multiple claimants elsewhere as well
In Ajnala, SGPC member Jodh Singh Samra continues to project himself as in-charge of the constituency, with the support of key local leaders, even as Bony has returned to the party fold. “SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal has visited my residence twice. This is a clear signal on who is to lead the segment,” Samra claimed. In Khadoor Sahib assembly too, from where SAD old guard and former MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura had turned rebel a year ago, the party is in a fix over leadership due to multiple claimants for halqa in-charge.