Fissures in SAD over action on Manpreet Badal

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Old 12-Oct-2010
Fissures in SAD over action on Manpreet Badal

Chandigarh October 12:

Faultlines in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), following the spat between Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal and his cousin and state finance minister Manpreet Badal, became prominent with the party torn apart over whether to take action against the latter. A meeting of the SAD disciplinary committee remained inconclusive over action on Manpreet.

The two leaders are at loggerheads over a debt-waiver package offered by the Centre to Punjab, which is being seen more as a battle of egos. "We discussed all aspects of the issue exhaustively but have deferred any decision till Wednesday," is all that Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, chairman of the committee, had to say after the two-and-a-half hour long meeting. It was attended by many senior Akali leaders, including SS Dhindsa, Tota Singh and Gurdev Badal.

Sources in SAD told reporters that most of the committee members, including Brahmpura, Tota Singh and Gurdev Badal, were vociferous in their demand to issue a show cause notice to Manpreet for his comments against his cousin and party chief Sukhbir Badal or divest him of his portfolio as punitive action.They also indicated that the leaders did not take a decision as news of Manpreet holding a press conference came in and the committee decided to "wait and watch."

The day saw Sukhbir at the heart of controversy, spending one hour with his father and chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at PGI, where the party patriarch is recuperating after a fall last week. Just before the crucial disciplinary meeting began at 4 pm, Sukhbir, unaccompanied by his security paraphernalia, was closeted with SS Dhindsa at his house, also venue of the meeting, for one-and-a-half hours. He left barely 15 minutes before the core committee began its crucial discussion on his cousin's fate within the party.

Sources said it is Sukhbir who reportedly pushed for a show cause to be slapped on Manpreet and those MLAs who attended the finance minister's press conference on Thursday.

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