Badal and Tohra Also Quit Party Posts

Amritsar — Sant Harchand Singh Longowal has resigned from the President ship of Akali Dal. He has also announced that he would not associate with any committee. Longowal appears to have decided to quit when he failed to carry the Sikh masses with him. His humiliating surrender before the Indian army turned out to be a Stigma beyond washing even through his recantations and glorifications of Sant Bhindranwale.

The publicity accorded to him by the media after his release made him a suspect in the popular imagination. Govt. of India’s anxiety to project him as the reasonable and moderate leader totally opposed to the cult of violence appears to have backfired.

Parkash Singh Badal, who is known for his moderate stand has also resigned from the working committee of the Akali Dal. Badal had reacted very strongly to the army attack on the Golden Temple and had gone to the extent of saying that Sikhs will have to consider whether they can anymore live with India. But in his first press interview after his release, he relapsed into his old philosophy of moderation and solutions on the basis of give and take rather than on principles. Badal is known for his sober, cultured and soft demeanor but lacks the finesse required for political manipulation. As Chief Minister of Punjab during the Janata Rule at the Centre, he could not even ensure reasonable share for the State from the Central pool.

Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s resignation has not been accepted by the S.G.P.C. and he does not seem to be eager for its acceptance. Tohra has a reputation to steer clear of controversies and troubled situations by remaining on the fence and jumping on the bandwagon of the winners. His moves in the present situation would be carefully watched and he won’t easily be able to establish his credibility with the Sikh masses. There are a number of serious charges and suspicions regarding his hobnobbing with the Govt’, and the fact of his surrender to the Army is adding to his difficulties.

Longowal expressed his anguish at the violent incidents and indirectly held Sikh youth responsible for it when he said that such acts would only harm the Sikh interests. In his frustration at the forced exit from the exalted position of President, he even forgot that his remarks could be used by the Government to hunt and kill Sikh youth.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 17, 1985