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Polls Over, Badal Dal Switches to Damage Control Mode on Dera Sirsa Issue

February 6, 2017 | By

Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) left no stone unturned to remain in polling contest in Punjab that ended on February 04 as just days before the polling SAD (Badal) leaders held a joint event with controversial Dera Sauda Sirsa (DSS) at Jeet palace Bathinda- where SAD (B) leaders promised to organize an event of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in Punjab and Dera’s political wing announced to support SAD (B) in Feb. 04 polls.

Next day Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) patron was quoted welcoming Dera Sauda Sirsa’s support by various media sections, who however maintained that it was independent decision of the dera and SAD (Badal) had not approached dera for support. The statement about ‘independent’ decision by the controversial dera is highly misleading in wake of the fact that many SAD (Badal) leaders had lined before Sirsa based cult’s head just days before the the Bathinda event. Secondly, SAD (B) leader not only shared the stage with dera representatives, but also announced to facilitate Dera Sirsa chief’s event in Punjab – to be his first event in the state after 2007 controversy. Media sections also disclosed that emissaries of Punjab CM and Badal Dal patron were also present in the Bathinda event.

Jagdeep Nakai addressing 1 February, 2017 joint gathering by SAD (Badal) and Dera Sauda Sirsa at Bathinda

The announcement regarding holding Dera chief’s event in Punjab was made by Badal Dal candidate from Talwandi Sabo- JeetMohinder Sidhu. Besides Sidhu, Badal Dal candidates from the nine constituencies of Bathinda and Mansa districts present on the occasion included Sarup Chand Singla from Bathinda Urban, Janmeja Singh Sekhon from Maur, Harpreet Singh Kotbhai from Bhucho, Sikander Singh Maluka from Rampura Phool, Jagdeep Singh Nakai from Mansa, Nishan Singh from Budhlada, Dilraj Singh Bhunder from Sardulgarh and Amit Rattan from Bathinda Rural.

A view of stage during February 01, 2017 event by SAD (B) and Dera Sirsa at Bathinda

As the elections are over in Punjab, the Badal Dal has activated damage control mode – especially in wake of the fact that polling for Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) is due on February 26. DSGMC is presently controlled by the Badal Dal.

After the polling was over in Punjab on February 04, DSGMC chief Manjit Singh GK, who is also Delhi state president of the Badal Dal, did not waste a minute to issue a statement condemning Dera Sauda Sirsa chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. In his written statement (copy available with the Sikh Siyasat News), Manjit Singh GK claimed that DSGMC was firm on it’s stand against deras. He further said that inspite of the fact that Dera Sauda Sirsa has announced to support Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) in Punjab assembly elections, the DSGMC ‘feels’ that the ‘dera has big role in facilitating anti-Sikh forces’. The written statement also maintains  that ‘it was surprising that while maintaining to have complete commitment for the Panth and Granth, the committee president Manjit Singh G.K. bitterly criticised the dera chief while going against his own party candidates for (Punjab) assembly elections.

A screenshot of excerpt from DSGMC chief Manjit GK’s statement in Punjabi

DSGMC chief further said that he would oppose any ‘satsang’ of the dera (Sirsa) chief in Punjab. The statement maintains that G.K.’s statement was part of giving all around defeat to opponents.

Another screenshot of excerpt from DSGMC chief Manjit GK’s statement in Punjabi

Similarly, the SAD (Badal) was quick to get issued a directive from the SGPC and SAD (Badal) backed ‘jathedar’ Giani Gurbachan Singh in which he commanded the SGPC to hold ‘inquiry’ against Badal Dal candidates who had sought support of Dera Sauda Sirsa (DSS) chief. Notably, Giani Gurbachan Singh is the same person who was rejected as ‘jathedar’ by large sections of the Sikh Panth after he (along with other SGPC appointed jathedars) had granted ‘pardon’ to the dera chief in 2015. The so-called pardon was, however, withdrawn afterwards in wake of strong opposition from the Sikh panth.

It may be further noted here that SGPC is presently controlled by the Badal Dal and SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar is considered to be a Badal loyalist.

A day after Giani Gurbachan Singh issued statement directing inquiry against ‘Sikh’ candidates who had sought support of Dera Sirsa for the Punjab elections, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) declared that it would form a committee to probe the matter.

SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar said, “As soon as we receive the official communication from the ‘Akal Takht’, we will set up a panel to identify the leaders who attended the dera congregation and ascertain their purpose of going there. As per the Akal Takht Jathedar’s directions, action would be taken on the basis of the probe report.”

On the once hand DSGMC and SGPC chief are talking hard against Dera Sirsa; with SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar forming committee to hold inquiry against “Sikh” (read Badal Dal) candidates for seeking Dera Sirsa’s support, their party chief Sukhbir Badal on Sunday (Feb. 05) enjoyed a show of Shahrukh Khan starrer “Raees” at Bathinda with Bathinda with Sikrandar Maluka and Jagdeep Nakai (both accused of seeking dera’s support) on his side seats.

Notably, the whole damage control exercise of the Badal Dal has its stake over the Sikh institutions and organizations like the Akal Takht Sahib, SGPC and DSGMC that are presently under their party’s control. Secondly, the Badal Dal is trying to give an impression that the decision to seek dera’s support and announcement to facilitate Dera chief’s function in Punjab was decision of some individual candidates and not the Badal Dal.

But on the other hand the Sikh organizations maintain that the character of the SGPC and Badal Dal backed Giani Gurbachan Singh, and present regimes of SGPC and DSGMC stands exposed in front of the Sikh Sangat. Former Panj Pyare of the Akal Takht Sahib maintained that the Badal Dal had sealed the deal with Dera Sauda Sirsa chief back in 2015 when the dera chief was suddenly granted pardon by Giani Gurbachan Singh & others and the move was welcomed in public by Badal Dal, SGPC and DSGMC.

‘Though’, said Bhai Satnam Singh Khandewala- one of the former Panj Pyares of Akal Takht Sahib, ‘the decision to grant pardon was withdrawn under compulsion in wake of strong opposition from the Sikh Panth, the Badal Dal’s deal with Sauda was intact and it was made public during Bathinda event by Badal Dal candidates and Dera Sauda Sirsa’s political wing in the presence of representatives of CM Badal’.

Firing a salvo against Gaini Gurbachan Singh- who is accommodated as ‘jathedar’ by the SGPC, for repeatedly be-fooling the sangat and trying to be over-smart, the Dal Khalsa said the time has come to cleanse the religious institutions from such corrupt and disgraced persons.

Dal Khalsa was reacting to the statement of Gurbachan Singh in which he said Hukamnama against Dera Sirsa was intact and that Badal Dal leaders who visited dera for votes will be held accountable.

Party head H S Cheema and spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said the Sikh sangat knew in their guts that these persons were spineless and their recent utterances have proved beyond doubt that they were shameless also.

They said the might of the state under Badal Dal rule was protecting Gurbachan Singh and his two co-colleagues from Sangat’s ire.

“Once Badals are out of power, Giani Gurbachan Singh and others who are backed as ‘Jathedars’ by the SGPC will have to face the anger of Sangat, in case they won’t quit voluntarily by then”, Dal Khalsa leaders added.

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