From our Special Correspondent

Over one lakh people paid homage to late Sant Longowal at his Bhog ceremony held in village Longowal, Dist. Sangrur in Punjab on Sept. 1, 1985. Several national personalities including Union finance Minister, Punjab Governor Mr. Arjun Singh and Karnatka Chief Minister, Mr. Ram Krishan Hegdre, Mr. Atal Behari Bajpai, Mr. Ram Jethmalani, Mr. Harkishan Singh Surjit, Mrs. Ambica Soni, Mr. I. K. Gujral, Mrs. Menaka Gandhi and Dr. Abdulah paid their tributes to Longowal, while Mr. Barnala acting President Akali Dal announced that a Memorial will be set up at village Longowal in the memory of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. Mr. Barnala condemned the violence and said no purpose could be achieved with bombs and bullets. Palestinian Liberation Organization, the acting leader said, has been indulging in this kind of violence but without any achievement. Strict security arrangements were made in<and out of the venue of the ceremony.

Thousands of security personals of Punjab police, Central Reserve Police, Border Security Force guarded the leaders and the Akalis. All prominent Akali leaders were kept at a distance from the main crowd for security reasons. Mr. Gurcharan Singh Tohra President SGPC repeated his call for general amnesty in Punjab. Mrs. Menaka Gandhi, President Rashtrya Sanjay Manch, who was also president at the Bhog ceremony, called Longowal Akali Dal as an extension of Congress (1). She said that the accord was signed between Prime Minister and Longowal with elections in view and that the strategy is to make Akali Dal Longowal win elections. She was of the view that Accord should provide compensation of Rs 1 lakh each for those killed in Punjab and other places during riots and army operation.

Akali Dal Longowal failed at this time to nominate any candidate for Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha election in Punjab, though Sept. 2 was the last date for filing of nomination papers. Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala acting president of Longowal Akali Dal, said that his party would announce the list of the candidates later but before September 5, which is the last date for withdrawal of nominations. According to party sources all the candidates recommended by district Jathedars for consideration by Parliamentary Board were asked to file their nomination papers. It was announced earlier that first list of party nominees will be released after the Bhog ceremony of Sant Longowal. Party sources stated that the differences among the members of Parliamentary Board have prevented the finalization of the list. In many cases there were more than half a dozen names for one seat. Akali Dal (L) according to delayed reports have released list of 100 candidates. The names of remaining 17 candidates will be released soon.

Article extracted from this publication >>  September 6, 1985