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Badal, Tohra bury differences, join hands
June 13, 2003 12:31 IST
In a significant development in Punjab politics, Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal and Sarv Hind Shiromani Akali Dal chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra on Friday formally announced unity between the two factions.
Badal drove down to Patiala in the morning and met Tohra at his son-in-law Harmail Singh Tohra's residence.
Tohra read out the brief unity draft written in Gurmukhi language.
"Keeping in view the sentiments of the party rank and file and the political situation, we have decided to unite," Tohra said in the statement read out by him.
Both the leaders hugged each other and exchanged sweets. They said the modalities would be worked out at a later stage.
The new party would be known as the Shiromani Akali Dal. Tohra said the Sarv Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), floated by him, has been dissolved.
Badal and Tohra parted ways six years ago when Tohra talked about decentralisation of power in the Akali Dal and was unceremoniously shown the door by Badal.
Tohra later floated the SHSAD.
Though the plans to unite were public, the public announcement came as a surprise, with even Akali workers in the dark about the meeting in Patiala.
Prominent among those present on the occasion were former ministers Manjit Singh Calcutta and Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal.
More reports from Punjab
Read about: Striking a Discordant Note