The Shiromani Akali Dal today called for the setting up of a genuinely federal structure in the country with greater autonomy to the states. “Strong states mean a strong country. Only through a genuinely federal political, constitutional and fiscal set up can India emerge as a strong global power, capable of playing its destined constructive role in the comity of nations. This alone is the recipe for economic growth, development and prosperity in the country,” said a Resolution passed by the SAD at its delegates’ session at Teja Singh Samundari Hall here today. Meanwhile, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal was unanimously elected as the President of Shiromani Akali Dal consecutively for second term at the delegate session.
“The party is firmly of the view that the federal principles as laid down in the constitution by the Founding Fathers have been consistently and systematically eroded by successive Congress governments at the center and this has led to serious imbalances in growth and economy in the country. The center has usurped and concentrated all powers in its hands, reducing states to the position of beggars. But the state governments are in the best position to understand and address the problems of the people. Therefore, the polity of the country must be decentralized and federalized,” said the resolution.
The meeting also demanded the undoing of injustice done to the state through the denial of its capital city Chandigarh and other Punjabi speaking areas left out of the state. “These must be transferred to Punjab without any further delay.”
In another resolution, the SAD held the anti-poor policies of the center squarely responsible for the economic mess facing the country today. Party demanded the immediate resignation of the UPA to pave the way for fresh mandate to save the countryit from economic crisis. “The story of the UPA government at the center at present has been a tale of gross fiscal mismanagement underlined by misplaced priorities. They have favoured the rich and the big business houses by neglecting the poor and the common man. The country today faces a critical crisis and the policies of the central government are directly to blame for that.”
The party also expressed deep concern and anguish over the denial of justice to the victims of the massacre of innocent Sikhs in Delhi and several other parts of the country in November 1984. The party said that it was a disgrace that the guilty of these heinous crimes continued to enjoy patronage of the Congress party and enjoy positions of high power and prestige in its governments at the center and the states.The meeting said that “the scars of the 1984 tragedy, including the wounds of the army assault on the Golden Temple, were still green, and the center had done nothing to assuage the hurt Sikh feelings.”
In another resolution, the SAD attacked the UPA government at the center for its acts of brazen interference in the religious affairs of the Sikhs, and said that the Congress–led UPA government had consistently woven conspiracies for weakening established Sikh institutions like the SGPC and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. “The Congress is still engaged in trying to pide the Khalsa Panth through conspiracies such as the move to set up a separate Parbandhak Committee for Haryana, something which the Sikhs of that state had out-rightly rejected.
The meeting also expressed deep concern and anxiety over attacks on members of the Sikh community in some countries and held the failure of the central government to take a firm stand on this issue responsible for continuing acts of discrimination against the community. In yet another resolution, the party expressed “grave concern” over the pathetic plight of the beleaguered peasantry in the country , especially in Punjab. The UPA government has worked consistently against the interests of the farmers, hiking the prices of farm inputs such as diesel, fertilizers, pesticides and agricultural implements and machinery. At the same time, it has consciously destroyed the peasantry by refusing to announce a matching hike in the Minimum Support Price of agricultural produce. Agriculture is no longer a lucrative or even a sustainable occupation, it said.
“The UPA government has been particularly harsh and discriminatory towards Punjab, refusing to include the state in any package announced for the farmers in the country, like the packages for drought hit states or for farmers’ suicides. It continues to keep the compensation for total loss of crop at a meager Rs 3600 per acre . The SAD demanded that this be raised to Rs 30,000 per acre at the bare minimum. The meeting also demanded a persification package of Rs 10,000 crores for Punjab and major agricultural states.
In another strongly worded resolution, the SAD lashed out at the Congress-led UPA govt. at the center for its “polices of discrimination, injustice and repression against the Dalits in the country. The Congress policies have conspired to perpetuate the social and economic exploitation of the dalits over the past sixty six years. The meeting commended the far-sighted pro-dalit policies of the SAD-BJP government in the state and endorsed its schemes like the Shagun Scheme, the attta daal scheme and many other pro-poor and pro-dalit schemes. The party strongly condemned the discriminatory policies of the center towards Punjab as symbolized by the denial of industrial concessions given to the neighbouring states. “There has been a disastrous impact of these concessions as they have resulted in a major flight of industrial capital from the state, severely affecting our economy.” The meeting called for similar concessions being advanced to the state too, with a special package for border areas in addition to that.
Later, the name of Sukhbir Singh Badal was proposed as the President Shiromani Akali Dal by party Senior Vice President Mr. Ranjit Singh Brahmpura in the delegate session and was endorsed by MP and party Secretary General Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. Thereafter, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MP and party general secretary proposed the name of Mr. Parkash Singh Badal as the patron of the party. The delegates also unanimously chose Mr. Parkash Singh Badal as the patron of the party. Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal was declared elected unanimously by party Secretary and spokesman Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema, amidst the slogans of "Bole So Nihal, Sat Shri Akal'. Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal is functioning as the President of the party since January 31, 2008. Acknowledging his elevation to the top party post, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal thanked the party leadership, particularly the senior leaders and dedicated party workers, and sought their blessings and cooperation in future too.
Earlier, the meeting placed on record the party’s whole hearted appreciation of the leadership provided in the past five years by its president, Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal . “Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal not only led the party through difficult times to steer it to the corridors of governmental responsibility in 2007 but also helped it to perform the incredible feat of back-to-back victories in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections. He also spearheaded many epoch-making changes in administrative structure and development processes, putting the state firmly on the high road to becoming a completely advanced modern state. His vision of governance has revolutionized the way governments are perceived throughout the country. Path-breaking infrastructure projects, including thermal plants that promise to make Punjab a power surplus state in the next year, combined with his visionary reforms in governance procedures have put Punjab ahead of all others in its march to modernity.”
The party also showered profuse praise on its patron and the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal whom it described as the tallest statesman in the country today. “Mr. Badal’s endearing and touching humility, his total dedication to his people, and his firm and unflinching commitment to the cause of the Panth, Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat and his profound and abiding faith in peace and communal harmony have are the cornerstones around which the history of modern Punjab is being shaped. Thanks to his vision and commitment, Punjab today is an oasis of peace in the country.”