Splinter Akali groups plan united front to take on SAD

Amritsar, Punjab: Even as the ruling SAD-BJP alliance has grown from strength to strength over the last two years, winning one election after another, splinter Akali groups are now making efforts to unite on a single platform so as to pose a potent challenge before the ruling combine in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

A meeting was recently held between SAD (Delhi) president Paramjeet Singh Sarna and SAD (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann at New Delhi in this regard. It was proposed that an “intellectual conclave” be called to evolve a panthic policy and programme for the future.

Talking to The Tribune, Sarna said they intended to form a council of intellectuals which would formulate a common minimum programme (CMP) of all the splinter Akali groups and help them narrow down their differences.

He expressed hope that all the Akali factions would join hands and give a tough fight to the SAD in the coming Lok Sabha elections. He said if everything went as per plan, the joint front would take shape by next month.

He alleged that the SAD had negated Sikh traditions while Sikhism too was on the decline under its rule in Punjab. He termed the emergence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the national scene and SAD’s support to him as dangerous for minorities while stating that “a wave of hatred is being spread to polarise majority Hindu votes and garner electoral gains in the Lok Sabha elections”.

The SAD (Amritsar), led by its president Simranjit Singh Mann and general secretary Jaswant Singh Mann, had taken an initiative to unite splinter Akali groups early this year. They had held a meeting with former SGPC secretary Manjeet Singh Calcutta in Amritsar on May 19, followed by talks with SAD (1920) leaders on June 6 and then with former Chief Minister Surjeet Singh Barnala at Kasauli on June 13. The SAD (Amritsar) is in touch with a number of Taksali Akali leaders to bring them into the party fold.

Meanwhile, Jaswant Singh Mann today said they were restructuring the party organisation so as to strengthen it at the grassroots level before the Lok Sabha elections. He said the process to strengthen the party organisation would be over by November 30 and they would converge in Amritsar on December 14 to mark the anniversary of the SAD’s Foundation Day.

Source: The Tribune

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