CHANDIGARH, India: The Akali Dal seems to be obsessed with the apprehension that the Centre is looking for an excuse to impose Governor’s rule in Punjab and as a strategy to ensure the Congress (I) victory in the forthcoming Haryana Vidhan Sabha elections.

“We are expendable for the sake of Congress (I) and the Centre will bid us goodbye before the elections”, a senior ruling Akali Dal (L) leader said. The party is feeling pressure on the issue of Eradi Tribunal report on the sharing of river waters which though yet to be published is said to have gone in favor of Haryana. “If we do not accept the report on the ground that it has contravened the fundamentals of the Punjab Accord, they will show us the door”.

the Akali Dal leader said. Congress (I) it appears wants to communalize Haryana politics to score a victory in the state and a tirade against the Akali Dal government would suit its strategy the most, the Akali leader said. Pointing out that the recent statement of the Union Minister for Forests, Mr. Bhajan Lal against the Barnala government has evoked no adverse comments from the Party’s Haryana Unit. Though the Chief Minister and his colleagues have not publically taken a stand against the talk that Sumil Dutt, a Congress (I) MP., had with the Sikh head priests, the Akali Dal does not consider this development at the present juncture advisable.

The ruling party sources said that it was difficult to believe that Mr. Dutt who led a Shanti Maha Pad Yatra to Amnitsar did not hold a brief from the Central leadership. The sources said that while the Congress (I) had blessed the all parties rallies in Punjab against religious interference in politics a Congress (I) M.P. was holding parleys with the head priests who had excommunicated Mr. Barnala from the Sikh Panth.

The opening of a channel by the Centre with the militants and their associates has created an embarrassing situation for the ruling party which cannot oppose openly. The ruling party sources interpret this channel as a pressure on the Barnala government to come to terms on the river water issue. It warned that militants would like much more favorable settlement than the Akali Dal is asking for. The ruling party also considers that the current one week extensive tour of the Governor S.S. Ray as an indication that the Centre is assessing the situation the State particularly the reaction of the people to the performance of Barnala government.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 24, 1987