The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), on Monday, expelled senior leader Bibi Jagir Kaur from the primary membership of the party for “indulging in anti-party activities, including becoming party to a conspiracy to break the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)”.
Announcing this decision at a press conference, SAD disciplinary committee chairman Sikander Singh Maluka said the disciplinary action had been taken against Kaur after exhausting all options, including giving the leader an opportunity to present her point of view through a personal hearing today.
“The SAD has always sought to present panthic (Sikh religious) unity by putting forward a single candidate for the post of president of the SGPC after the party president takes the views of all members individually. We fail to understand why Bibi Jagir Kaur wanted to change this norm and create confusion in the Sikh community as it only helps forces inimical to the panth,” he said.
Kaur’s decision to contest the SGPC presidential poll is in direct defiance of the party’s announcement that the incumbent Harjinder Singh Dhami will contest as its candidate. Maluka said Kaur had started preparing to contest the SGPC elections three months back by approaching members. He said with the aim of maintaining unity in the party, senior SAD leaders Dr Daljit Singh Cheema and Surjit Singh Rakhra had approached her and urged her to abide by party discipline.
“Even SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal apprised her about the view point of SGPC members and counseled her not to insist on contesting the polls,” he said. Maluka said the former started calling up and meeting members to solicit their support. “Things got out of hand when there were complaints from SGPC members that senior BJP leader and National Minority Commission chairman Iqbal Singh Lalpura was ringing up members to solicit support for Bibi Jagir Kaur,” he added.
Maluka said taking into consideration the complaint of the members as well as the report submitted by the two member SAD team which met her, Kaur was suspended from the party.
“Following this two repeated extensions were given to her to explain her view point and today she was given time to explain her case in person”. However, instead of doing this, she is questioning the very formation of the disciplinary committee which has been formed by the SAD president after the party Working Committee, of which she is a member, gave Badal the requisite rights,” he said.
A former SGPC president, Kaur was the first woman to be elected president of the SGPC. A former legislator from Bholath constituency in Kapurthala, she was a minister in the Parkash Singh Badal government. She joined politics after serving as a teacher in mathematics.