From Our Special Correspondent

Chandigarh: The annual election of office bearers of S.G.P.C. scheduled for November 29 has created conditions of uncertainty in the Akali Dal. No decision could be taken in the meeting held on November 16 to select nominees for various offices including that of President ship. Surjit Singh Barnala, Balwant Singh and Sukhjinder Singh kept supporting the candidature of Gurcharan Singh Tohra. They argued that Parliamentary Board had no right to select the candidates. While Parkash Singh Badal, Capt. Amarinder Singh and Sant Ajit Singh along with other members wanted the matter to be decided by the Parliamentary Board. Some members also accused Mr. Tohra for failing to maintain the dignity and traditions of the Golden Temple as he did not protest against police entry into Darbar Sahib even after the formation of Akali government. Some members also considered him responsible for the dismantling of a portion of the Akal Takht by the workers of All India Sikh Students Federation.

It was subsequently decided to call a joint meeting of the Parliamentary Board and District Jathedars on November 25 to finally clinch the issue. It is significant that majority of the Jathedars belongs to the Late Harchand Singh Longowal group who are bitter opponents of Mr. Tohra. According to sources close to the Akali Leaders, Mr. Tohra told the meeting that he was not a candidate for the President ship. In the Parliamentary Board meeting some members also demanded that a convention of the General House be held to decide whether Chief Minister Barnala could keep two offices with him. Mr. Barnala is also the President of the Akali Party.

Article extracted from this publication >>  November 22, 1985