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Akali Dal unity moves speed up
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | May 22, 2003 23:41 IST
The Shiromani Akali Dal faction headed by Parkash Singh Badal and the oneáled by Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra may be merged by next week, Captain Kanwaljit Singh, former Punjab finance minister, told rediff.com on Thursday.
He said unity talks between the former Punjab chief minister and Tohra, his one-time archrival, have entered the 'final stage'. Badal, he said, was awaiting clearance from the Jathedar of Akal Takhat, Joginder Singh Vedanti.
"Badal has written a letter to the Akal Takhat Jathedar asking him whether the unity moves violate the hukamnama (order) issued againstáhim on December 31, 1999 by the then Jathedar of Akal Takhat, Bhai Ranjit Singh," he said.á
The stricture was passedáafteráBadaláreportedly defiedáthe truce that was brokered between the two factions by the Akal Takhat.áThe truce was supposed to last till the celebrationsámarking 300 years of the Khalsa Panth ended.
According to sources close to Tohra, Kirpal Singh Badungar, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, will tender his resignation and make way for Tohra. Badungar is from the Badal camp.
But Tohra, said the sources, wants Badal to be punished before that arrangement is put in place. Five head priests will take a decision in this regard early next week. They are expected to pass a mild tankah (punishment) against Badal, which the leader would accept in the 'overall interest' of the party.
SAD (B) sources told rediff.com that unity moves were hastened after the Congress government in Punjab, headed by Captain Amarinder Singh, started slapping cases against senior leaders of the party.
"Both factions realise that if they continue to fight, the Congress will sweep the 2004 Lok Sabha election. Moreover, there is also pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party national leadership on both the factions to bury the hatchet," a source said.
Tarlochan Singh, chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, is also reportedly playing a crucial role in bringing the warring Akali factions together. Singh, however, denied any role in the unity moves when contacted by rediff.com.
More reports from Punjab
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