Expelled Akali leaders launch new party in Punjab
Amritsar : The expelled leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday launched a new party -- the Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali).
"Taksali means genuine and old. We are the real Akali Dal," the newly announced party's president Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, who is the sitting Member of Parliament from the Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha seat, said.
The new party was launched after prayers (ardas) at the Golden Temple complex here. It was announced outside the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion.
The new party has been floated by expelled Akali Dal leaders Brahmpura, Ratan Singh Ajnala and former Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan.
These leaders, and a few others, were expelled from the SAD in November for anti-party activities after they rebelled against the party leadership.
The new Akali Dal has been launched just two days after the SAD celebrated its 98th anniversary. The SAD, the second oldest political party in the country after the Congress, was launched in December 1920.
The SAD is headed by Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of five-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Reacting to the launch of the new party, the SAD termed it as the "Congress 'B Team' and Sons".
SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said the party launched by Brahmpura and others had misused "the presence of thousands of devotees collected at Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) on the occasion of 'sangrand' as a show of strength for their 'fathers and sons' outfit".
Cheema said the expelled trio had committed "ghor paap" (terrible sin) by giving the impression that thousands of devotees, who had flocked to the Golden Temple complex (on Sunday), were their supporters.
"It is also a fact that today is Sunday and there is a two fold increase in footfall at Sri Darbar Sahib on such occasions. In light of these facts, releasing pictures which seek to misappropriate the support to devotees in this cheap manner proves nothing is sacred for this rag-tag group," Cheema said in a statement in Chandigarh.