Opinion Former SGPC Chief Lalpura Is No More


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Dharmendra Rataul

Former senior Akali leader Prem Singh Lalpura — perhaps the first to dissent against the rise of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal — passed away on Wednesday. He was 86. The leader had been suffering from heart problems on late. The veteran Akali, a contemporary of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, had parted ways with the Badals in 1997 after Sukhbir was elevated to the Union Cabinet.

Lalpura was part of the Punjabi Suba Morcha that led to the creation of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh out of Punjab in 1966. He was a stalwart of this region and perhaps the only leader who could equal the legendary Congress leader and former chief minister Partap Singh Kairon. Lalpura had been a three-time MLA and a Lok Sabha MP, though he did not attend Parliament in protest against Sukhbir’s elevation to the Union Cabinet while he was ‘ignored’. He was a member of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the ruling SAD(B) for long before resigning from the post and the party.

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He later joined the Congress at the behest of former CM and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Capt Amarinder Singh. Before joining the Congress, he remained with the Panthic Morcha, a conglomeration of anti-Badal political outfits, and was close to the former SGPC chief, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, a Badal bete noire. He contested the 2002 Assembly elections unsuccessfully. Lalpura also headed the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) from 1958 to 1960.

The SGPC offices were closed as soon as the news of his death spread. SGPC chief spokesperson Ram Singh termed him a well-meaning person whose contribution to the administration of the committee was immense. Former SGPC secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta recalled him as a statesman who had always stayed true to his ideals even though he had to suffer a lot by taking a tough stand. “He was a man of the masses. He was an institution in himself and would be remembered as the most vocal voice in the panthic circles,” said Calcutta.

According to family sources, his cremation will take place on March 11 at Lalpura village.



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