Is Akali politics going through its worst phase?

Chandigarh: Akali politics is currently going through a crisis and the situation has worsened especially after the near-retirement of SAD(B) patriarch Parkash Singh Badal from active politics. Once SAD(B) loyalists turned dissidents chose their own paths and formed splinter Shiromani Akali Dals such as Ranjit Singh Brahampura’s SAD(Taksali), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s SAD(Democratic), and when they couldn’t independently leave any significant mark on Sikh voters, they decided to merge their political outfits and formed SAD(Samyukta). Both Dhindsa and Brahampura were expelled from SAD(B) for their alleged anti-party activities. As if this was not enough, another senior Akali leader late Sewa Singh Sekhwan shifted loyalty and joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). These leaders, however, claimed that they felt ‘suffocated’ in the SAD(B) as party leadership was promoting nepotism due to which they chose to part ways. 

With the strengthening of AAP and tough challenges posed by BJP as well as Congress, no doubt that Akalis are bracing for a tense political battle ahead but still their leadership’s rhetoric has been largely revolving around the panthic issues and not the people’s issues which led AAP to victory in the Punjab assembly polls held earlier this year.

Though there has not been open demand for the resignation of SAD(B) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who appears to have lost his charisma, from within the party, other Akali factions are harping on their voice seeking Parkash Singh Badal’s son to step down and let someone other than a Badal take charge of the century-old party. 

Generally, it is observed that within all factions of SADs, the concerns and anxieties are not for the panth or the people of Punjab, but to retain the power positions and among all the traits of a good politician, the integrity to personals interests is reflected over Punjab and Punjabi’s interests. 

During these trying times, the SAD(B) also suffered a major setback with one of the party’s strategists and populist leaders Bikram Singh Majithia being behind the bars in a drug case. 

Today, the Akali leaders proudly speak of safeguarding the panthic values for all these years but what they fail to mention is that it is under their regime there have been several instances of beadbi (sacrileges).

It is the clarion call for Akali leadership, which is facing myriads of challenges to understand the gravity of the situation, to stop the blame game and discard confrontationist politics to give a panthic leadership and envisage people-friendly policies before the vacuum is filled by others.