Sunday, 28 June, 2009

Pathetic Picture of an Akali regime

Pathetic Picture of an Akali regime

MLA abuses minister, Akali hoodlums beat, strip official, BJP boycotts Cabinet meet, Badal trudges with ‘sorry’ MLA to seek reconciliation, Punjab a picture of lawlessness.Gian Inder Singh
LUDHIANA/CHANDIGARH:IN a rather pathetic picture of how a party that used to proclaim itself as the panthic party is running its government, an MLA of the ruling Akali
Dal landed up at the residence of a senior BJP minister and abused him right, left and center, all because the minister had delayed clearance of a couple of files which would have resulted in direct monetary benefit of lakhs of rupees to the Akali MLA.
This happened in the same week in which an Akali Dal councilor Kamaljeet Singh Karwal alongwith some 30 hoodlums of the Akali Dal beat up, stripped, kicked, dragged and humiliated a senior revenue official, a tehsildar, right inside his office in full public view.
Another Akali councilor Simarjeet Singh Bains also reached there and obstructed the police from saving the official, Major Gurinder Singh Benipal, largely known for being an honest upright official specially deputed in Ludhiana to stem malpractices in the system. His fault was merely to refuse to do illegal works of the Akali councilors.

The dramaMajor Gurinder Singh Benipal, a whistle- blower in the fake stamp paper scam and the main complainant, was resisting some illegal registries that Akali councilors Karwal and Simrajit Bains often pushed for. It is common knowledge that ruling party councilors are invariably involved in shady land deals. The official reason given by Karwal and his men for the fracas was that Beniwal did not give them preferential treatment! The Akali hoodlums beat up Beniwal who sustained a fracture in his right leg and was badly bruised. He was admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. He was beaten with sticks and rods, stripped naked, and was even fired at.
The two incidents brought unprecedented shame for the Akali Dal government. But perhaps neither the Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal nor his Akali Dal president son Sukhbir Singh Badal realize the amount of illwill such incidents create towards the very concept of being an Akali. Across India and the world, a large number of common people are little aware of the broad and subtle distinctions between various Akali groups and factions and end up lumping together such incidents as typical of the Akalis.
Shame was writ large as the media carried shocking pictures of the tehsildar, stripped to his underwear and bleeding, and reports of the two councilors virtually daring the police to arrest them. Councilor Bains is widely known to be very close to Sukhbir Singh Badal and has been known to be riding roughshod over even the traditional Akali leaders.
Many of Sukhbir acolytes share this trait, and it is time the so called taksali leadership of the Akali Dal paid attention to where such deviations and aberrations will land the party a few years from now.
The shame saga was unstoppable ever since the fracas on Friday with revenue officials striking work and a crescendo of protests raging in the state. Meanwhile, the BJP ministers boycotted a Cabinet meeting, made public their stance, exposed Akali Dal MLA Sarabjit Singh Makkar in public for being corrupt and seeking personal favours from minister, and narrated a tale of continuous sidelining of the BJP.
Strange sense of family
When Prakash Singh Badal had to suffer the humiliation of carrying Makkar by his arm into the residence of Manoranjan Kalia and seeking forgiveness from the BJP, the official shame-faced explanation and description from the Akali Dal camp took the cake. "It was a family matter between the Akali Dal and the BJP and the two have resolved it like a family," said an apologist of the Badal family to the reporters, probably thinking that he has hit upon a great piece of spin doctoring.
Shame is a virtue that Akal Purakh blesses perhaps only on the chosen ones. Neither this spin doctor nor any of the worthies present could care to explain how a fracas at a minister's home, public accusations by five ministers of being humiliated, a boycott of the Cabinet meeting and umpteen protests in the streets including burning of effigies was a "family matter" of the Akali Dal or the BJP. Unless of course the two parties admit that Punjab is under family rule.

They took their woes to the BJP high command and later forced Prakash Singh Badal on Tuesday to trudge to the official residence of BJP Minister Manoranjan Kalia in Chandigarh, Makkar in toe, to say sorry. A shamefaced Makkar apologised to Kalia in the presence of Punjab BJP president Rajinder Bhandari, senior BJP leaders Balramji Das Tandon and Madan Mohan Mittal. Badal had taken along Ranjit Singh Brahampura and Balwinder Singh Bhoonder to send signals that he indeed was aware of the gravity of the crime.
In simple shorn-of-all-frills interpretation of the turn of events, the Punjab BJP leadership was able to flex enough muscles to make the Akali Dal and its supreme leader bend and beg for reconciliation, a picture that sent out a message that the saffron knew finally how to handle the incorrigible senior Akali alliance partners.
Damage control was on in the other matter too. After days of dilly dallying and having much egg on the face, Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal expelled Karwal from the Akali Dal while Simrajeet Singh Bains, who had cocked a snook at law for many years now, had to be arrested by the police on Tuesday.
But what the incident brought out were a few facts so shameful that they will last for a long time even after the common people forget the incident.
* The Akali MLA abused the BJP minister at his home. So who is safe in the state?
* The Akali MLA did all this because he wanted to directly milk the government.
* The Minister later admitted that he indeed cleared the file that would accrue benefits of Rs 50 lakh plus to the Akali MLA. So much for resisting pressure!
* The MLA shamelessly admitted that he indeed had abused the minister, and yes, it was all because his own personal work was being delayed.
* The MLA actually told the Ajit newspaper that he indeed spewed out abuses in the name of mother, sister. "Punjabi hundiyan thorri bahut Maa Di, Bhen Di ta ho hee jaandi hai (Being a Punjabi, a little bit of mother, sister related abuses are normal)," Makkar was quoted in the Ajit.
The state meanwhile witnessed many other similar incidents including beating up of a few Congressmen in Nawan Shahr by Akali Dal workers, beating up of Punjab State Electricity Board officials by Akali activists in more than two places.

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