Makkar gets indirect snub at Akali Dal delegate session
Thursday, September,05 2013 - 17:34
By Jagtar Singh-
CHANDIGARH: The presence of Damdami Taksal Chief Harnam Singh Dhumma and the importance accorded to Bibi Jagir Kaur at the delegate session of the Akali Dal to re-elect Sukhbir Singh Badal on September 3 in Amritsar is being considered to be indirect snub to Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Avtar Singh Makkar.
The meeting was held in the Teja Singh Samundari Hall which houses the offices of the SGPC in the Golden Temple complex.
According to the sources, Dhumma had been personally invited to the meeting by Sukhbir despite the fact that he is not a member of the Akali Dal and hence there is no question of his being a delegate. It was Dhumma who was instrumental in the construction of memorial in the memory of all those killed during Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple complex and name it after Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, contrary to the earlier statement of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that it would be a peace memorial.
The situation had brought Makkar in direct confrontation with Dhumma who had refused to remove the sign board proclaiming it to be Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale memorial.
While transforming the basic character of the Akali Dal, Sukhbir is conscious of the significance of the Panthic character of the party and hence the presence of Dhumma. It may be mentioned that Dumma heads the Sant Samaj which has been extending open support to the Akali Dal in all recent elections. Sukhbir is trying to perform the balancing act. Makkar, though he heads the SGPC, has proved to be of little electoral value to the party.
He had been handpicked by Badal to mobilise the support of urban Sikhs. He was virtually a non-entity and a first timer in the SGPC when he was accorded this honour. It may be recalled that Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who lorded over the SGPC for more than a quarter of a century, had been a parallel centre of power in the Akali politics. Bibi Jagir who succeeded him after the party split too had tried to prove her mettle as the SGPC chief.
Sukhbir had expressed his reservations about the role of the SGPC when, for the first time, he had informally interacted with the members of its executive here recently while advising them to give greater emphasis on the propagation of religion. However, Makkar joined issues with him later defending the role of the educational institutions under the SGPC.
According to the sources, Makkar had certain apprehensions before the meeting with Sukhbir as he had felt humiliated on earlier occasion also. Sukhbir is aggressive in his style of functioning. He is learnt to have even weighed pros and cons of sending his resignation at the meeting but he later changed his mind.