Large scale defections from the United Akali Dal have not surprised anyone. In fact these defections were on the cards for quite some time. None would dispute that most of the defectors had joined the party out of sheer opportunism. Their track record was such as could neither inspire confidence nor generate hope. They were generally looked upon as proverbial Trojan horses who had motives other than the glory of the Panth. Their departure from the party may even be described by some as good riddance.

Yet it is a matter that cannot be dismissed as of no consequence. All well-meaning Sikhs have been feeling bewildered, if not disillusioned, with the manner and style in which the affairs of the party have all along been conducted. ‘

Regrettably the party leadership has not shown statesmanship, farsightedness or even common sense in comprehending political realities and tackling unexpected exigencies. They have been primarily concerned with monopolizing the control and devising strategies to keep others out of the policy making forums.

They did practically nothing to meet the combined challenge of the Central government and the Akali Dal (L). In their anxiety to hold the reigns, they alienated all those intellectuals, professionals and political analysts who had developed a purposeful rapport with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and had played significant role in giving proper direction to the Dharam Yudh Morcha.

The alienation of the think-tank has left the party in the hands of inexperienced mediocrity who have been stumbling from one mistake to another. Instead of projecting Baba Joginder Singh as a saintly father figure, an image that he preeminently deserves, his position appears to have been compromised for the narrow purpose of promoting a particular group or building up a kind of vague hierarchy. He has been needlessly dragged into the mire of mundane political exercises for which he has neither the temperament nor the background. As a highly respected religious man with the additional aura of being the father of Sant Jarnail Singh, he could have proved a great asset in creating grass root support for the party.

The situation can still be redeemed. The vacuum created by the defections must instantly be filled with committed persons who have the requisite vision and Sagacity to meet any awkward situation. A little slip at this crucial juncture can spell disaster and lead the party to disintegration.

It must be remembered that the Panth is engaged in a bitter and grim struggle. It is up against a Machiavellian adversary. It has no time for petty group rivalries or for manipulating dynastic hegemonies. The situation demands redetermination of priorities and policies.

Now that the dark horses have gone, those who had withdrawn in disgust must be persuaded to come back and take up the responsibilities. Let all those who cherish not chairs be actively involved in providing enlightened leadership. Babaji must discard all other considerations and should assign duties on the basis of calibre and commitment alone if he is truly interested in the ‘Bol Bala’ of the Panth.

Article extracted from this publication >>