Ex-Minister Expelled From Akali Dal After He Quits Party Posts

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The SAD said in a statement it has expelled Mr Sekhwan from the party. (File)

Gurdaspur:

In another jolt to the faction-ridden Akali Dal in Punjab, senior leader Sewa Singh Sekhwan on Saturday resigned as the party's senior vice president and also as a member of the core committee alleging he was being neglected by the leadership.

Mr Sekhwan is the third senior leader to quit party posts after former Union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Lok Sabha MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura.

"First Dhindsa sahib resigned and then Brahmpura sahib resigned, and today I resign from the post of party's senior vice president and core committee," Mr Sekhwan, a former state minister, told reporters.

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"When you are not invited in meetings for the posts I held, then what will I do with these positions. Therefore, in protest against it I resigned from both the posts," he said.

After Mr Sekhwan's press conference, the SAD said in a statement it has expelled Mr Sekhwan from the party with immediate effect.

Party's senior vice president Daljit Singh Cheema said Mr Sekhwan was indulging in "anti-party" activities.

He said Mr Sekhwan, who lost four consecutive assembly elections, had displayed "opportunistic tendencies" and was working to "back stab" his party.

However at Mr Sekhwan's press conference, Mr Brahmpura and senior Akali Dal leader Rattan Singh Ajnala lashed out at party president Sukhbir Singh Badal, saying he was "incapable" of running the SAD and demanded his removal.

"To strengthen the party, it is utmost important that those who are leading it – Sukhbir Badal and (Bikram Singh) Majithia – who have kept Akali Dal in their pockets should be removed," said Mr Brahmpura.

They said pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda in a 2007 blasphemy case and sacrilege incidents during the SAD-BJP government have hit the party's image.

Mr Sekhwan said he will continue to serve the party as a disciplined soldier.

"I resigned from posts and not from the party. I will continue to work for the party as a disciplined soldier. We want improvement in Akali Dal and those who are incapable of leading the party should be removed," he said.

"Akali Dal does not belong to anybody's father. It is formed by our elders. We have submitted our case in court of Khalsa Panth (Sikh community) which will decide who is right," said Mr Sekhwan.

Mr Sekhwan accused Mr Badal of politicising religious institutions such as the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

After Dhindsa resigned from party posts on September 30, Mr Brahmpura, Mr Ajnala and Mr Sekhwan had virtually raised a banner of revolt saying "all was not well within the party." They had even stayed away from party's Jabar Virodhi rally in Patiala on October 7.

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