Punjab News Badal sets pace for SGPC poll

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Chandigarh, June 20

The absence of SAD chief and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal notwithstanding, CM Parkash Singh Badal appears to have taken upon himself the onerous task of dissipating dissension in the party in time for the coming SGPC elections.He has not only made a series of appointments for adjusting political bigwigs that could swing some votes, but has also tried to win some of the dissidents, especially ex-Gurcharan Singh Tohra loyalists, back into the party fold.

Grant of the status of a Cabinet minister to the widow of the former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, for example, has come at a time when some of the known anti-Badal Akalis started grouping themselves as an alternate front for the gurdwara elections.

It is not only some of Tohra loyalists, but also those who owe allegiance to former CM and Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, who on the eve of any electoral contest, attempt to project a new front that “could rock the boat of the Badals dominated Dal.”

Appointment of Ranjit Singh Ballian as chairman of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation followed by naming of Gurdeep Singh Pehalwan as chairman of the newly created Punjab Employees Welfare Board, for example, are clearly indicative of the strategy that senior Badal has chalked to see his party through in the acid test that would be followed by major test for political supremacy in the 2012 Assembly elections.

Though he had to visit the US twice in the past few months to look after his ailing wife, Badal, has not only been the principal decision maker, both for the government as well as the party, but has also dispelled the speculation of elevation of his son in time for the next Assembly elections. And during the current term in the office, the CM appears to be placing his confidence more on the party workers and leaders than rehabilitating or re-employing superannuating bureaucrats.
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