From minister to loner? Aides desert Manpreet Badal (Punjab Newsletter)December 24th, 2011 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS
Chandigarh, Dec 24 (IANS) Just over a year ago, former Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal was expelled from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal owing to ideological differences with the top leadership. Now, as the state gets into the assembly poll mode, Manpreet is facing a situation of his closest aides deserting him and his People’s Party of Punjab (PPP).
Two founder members of the PPP, Jagbir Singh Brar and Kushaldeep Dhillon, left the PPP last week and joined the Congress ahead of the state’s assembly polls likely to be held in February next year.
Manpreet, clearly shaken by these founder leaders of the PPP leaving him, termed them “backstabbers”. The leaders, in turn, accused him of turning the PPP into “a family-run business” on the lines of the Akali Dal and also levelled serious charges of financial misappropriation.
They managed to get Manpreet out of the Akali Dal but couldn’t “get the ‘Badal’ out of Manpreet”, Brar and Dhillon said. Despite floating a new party, Manpreet had a soft corner for his uncle, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, they said, adding that they would not be surprised if he returned to the Akali Dal.
Manpreet, who is trying to put up a third front in Punjab with smaller parties, including the Left, to challenge the Akali Dal and the Congress, seems like a loner within his own party. Those who joined him when he left the Akali Dal with high hopes in October last year, have left him one by one.
Besides the two founding leaders of the PPP, others who have left him include sitting legislators Ajit Singh, Manjinder Kang and Charanjit Channi and former assembly deputy speaker Bir Devinder Singh.
After leaving the Akali Dal, headed by his first cousin Sukhbir Singh Badal, and the government headed by his uncle, Manpreet had promised to chart his own political course with a new and fresh look at Punjab’s vendetta-filled politics.
While leaving, Manpreet had cited ideological differences with the chief minister and the Punjab deputy chief minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, on issues like subsidies to various categories and the need to manage the state’s finances better. It is another matter, political analysts feel, that Manpreet was feeling suffocated in the Badal clan and the Akali Dal after the chief minister started promoting his son Sukhbir in the party and the government.
“Manpreet was earlier largely seen as the political heir to Parkash Singh Badal. But in the last four-five years, equations changed in the Akali Dal and Sukhbir now controls the party and the government,” a senior Akali Dal leader told IANS, requesting anonymity.
Shaken by senior leaders deserting the PPP even before the party goes into its first election, Manpreet has said that those leaving the PPP were “traitors”.
“The doors of the party (PPP) are permanently closed (for them). Even if they want to come back now, we will not take them,” he said.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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- 'Clouds' galore over Punjab's electoral skies - Jan 26, 2012
- Brother vs brother, with a royal twist (Punjab Newsletter) - Jan 14, 2012
- Punjab results decimate Manpreet Badal, PPP - Mar 06, 2012
- Manpreet Badal in soup over Anna ad - Sep 04, 2011
- Akalis field Olympian Pargat Singh, Sukhbir Badal files nomination - Jan 09, 2012
- A long relationship ends in Punjab's first family (Letter From Chandigarh) - Oct 23, 2010
- Badal vs Badal vs Badal in Punjab's Lambi seat - Jan 07, 2012
- Lok Bhalai Party merges with Akali Dal in Punjab - Nov 23, 2011
- Akali Dal-BJP set to create history in Punjab (Fifth Lead) - Mar 06, 2012
- Congress calls for united opposition in Punjab (Punjab Newsletter) - Sep 07, 2012
- Akalis, Congress claim victory as campaigning ends in Punjab - Jan 28, 2012
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Tags: aides, ajit singh, assembly poll, channi, chief minister, dec 24, deputy speaker, devinder singh, dhillon, finance minister, first cousin, founder members, fresh look, high hopes, ideological differences, manpreet brar, misappropriation, parkash, ppp, vendetta