SAD’s compromise with principles, core issues behind marginalisation in Punjab politics, says Bibi Jagir Kaur                   

Spread the love

Bibi Jagir Kaur says that “there is huge BJP interference in our religious matters. Akal Takht Sahib, the highest Sikh seat has been totally silenced.”

Bibi Jagir Jaur (Image credit Bhawna Malik)

Bibi Jagir Jaur (Image credit Bhawna Malik)

Spread the love

Former Cabinet Minister of Punjab, and the first president of Sri Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), Bibi Jagir Kaur in an interview with Bhawna Malik shares her views on wide-ranging issues ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. She has held the position of the chief of the SGPC for three terms.

Bhawna: As a woman leader, how do you envision the role of women in Punjab politics?

Kaur: Women are the backbone of any society. Unfortunately, they are treated as objects. Woman is not just a body, but a character (Kirdar). As voters too, they are a huge number.

Sikh history is full of unparalleled women as leaders or mothers who inculcated values and valour in their children and even sacrificed them while walking the path of Gurus’ teachings. The girl is like Earth and boy is a seed. They must be treated as equals even in matters pertaining to property. Today, women are in every sphere; be it a Sarpanch, MLA, MP or educationists. They should enjoy more power.

Bhawna: Except Harsimrat Kaur Badal and you, no woman leader is visible in Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).  No new face is listed even for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Why is that?

Kaur: Badals dominate the party and do not in any way want a competitor. I have worked at various levels as a Cabinet Minister and also as the head of the SGPC. But my popularity and strong leadership was seen as a threat. They just want to hold all the power in their own hands.

Bhawna: Recently, Sukhdev Singh Dhindhsa has rejoined SAD. How do you react to this? Are you also being approached?

Kaur: I am in touch with all the senior leaders.  I never resigned from the party. I didn’t form any separate political party. I am a loyal Akali.  Rather,  I was expelled from the party.

Bhawna: You were expelled on the ground of anti-party activities. Is that true?

Kaur: My expulsion was unconstitutional.  I took a stand on principles and voiced my opinion that the SGPC must be free from political interference or (ex-CM of Punjab) Sukhbir Singh Badal’s control.  I stood for the elections of SGPC independently, and that in no way is an anti-party activity. Hence, I was expelled.

Bhawna: You had said that till Sukhbir Singh Badal resigns you won’t join back. Is that true?

Kaur: I never mentioned Sukhbir’s resignation nor I carry any personal grudge with him. But his interference or controlling the SGPC is a cause of concern.  His working style is very different.

Bhawna: You have worked with both the Senior Badals, S. Prakash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal; what’s the  difference?

Kaur: Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had a different persona. He was very good with political alliance and shared a camaraderie with leaders. If some party leaders were annoyed, he would somehow get them onboard . He was a very good listener and would adapt himself to the situation. But he always worked for the betterment of Punjab. During his tenure, there were hardly any frictions in the party.

Bhawna: What about Sukhbir Singh Badal?

Kaur: Sukhbir is young, dynamic and intelligent. He has a development vision for Punjab but parivarvaad is ruling the party. Only one family has all the control.  Lots of incidents involving sacrileges took place during his leadership as Deputy CM while he also helmed the Home Ministry affairs. Bargadi kand (incident) happened. Ideally from religious point of view, Ram Rahim should have been interrogated and punished but he was forgiven for votes. This affected the party heavily. People were angry and they lost faith in the Akali leadership.

Bhawna: Can you elaborate what else had been wrong with Sukhbir’s leadership?

Kaur: Derailment of the party from the core issues and its principles led to the failure of the SAD in Punjab. Whenever any regional head or an MLA is elected, a parliamentary board is formed and two to three names are suggested and discussions are held but during Sukhbir’s tenure, the party functioned in a casual manner and did not hold discussions among the party leaders. Earlier there was one chief leader or Pradhan and five Meet or friendly Pradhans to assist him but now it’s hilarious that four senior meet Pradhans and then four meet Pradhans to assist one Pradhan. It’s the mockery of the system.  

Bhawna: You mentioned parivarvaad, but that’s visible in the Congress also as while Capt. Amarinder Singh was CM of the state his wife Parneet Kaur was a Minister of State. Why Badals are blamed?

Kaur: Ideally one family must get only one ticket. Either MLA or MP, but Badals whole family rules as Chief Minster, Deputy CM, and holding additional portfolios too.  Bikramjit Singh Majithia, and Dr Cheema too are their relatives. It’s just one family and its close relatives acting as decision makers. Punjab belongs to all. Everyone has their understanding of Punjab and its issues. Everyone must be given the opportunity to work for the betterment of Punjab.

Bhawna: Sukhdev Singh Dhindhsa has said that he is back in the party to work for the betterment of Punjab? Do you agree?

Kaur: What betterment?. He is old and has health issues, his son Parminder Singh Dhindhsa is not able to run any political party independently so Dhindhsa is back (in the SAD).

Bhawna: What are your views on the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab?

Kaur: The AAP is hardly a government. There is a sense of total collapse of law and order situation. Drug menace has increased 10 times. CM Bhagwant Maan behaves like a comedian. In Vidhan Sabha, the way he addresses the leaders is disgraceful. He openly threatens them with actions from agencies. No development in Punjab, just renaming old schemes like Pardhan Mantri Yojna, Kejriwal Yojna and now its CM Bhagwant Maan Yojna.  Free ration was given to all now CM Maan has hired a company who will distribute ration to the families. Who will check the quality of the ration? Why paying from tax payers’ money when it can be done through Suvidha centres.

Bhawna: Do you see any positive outcome over the ongoing farmers’ protest at Shambhu Border?

Kaur: The farmers have got nothing from the Central government except false promises. The way Haryana government has dealt with them is shameful. Farmers have been killed, hurt, and some have lost their vision and young farmer Shubhkaran Singh lost his life. How can his parents be consoled. The farmer protest is shown as if only farmers of Punjab or rather Sikh farmers are protesting. That’s not true. Farmers’ protest cannot be given a religious colour.

Bhawna: There have been rumours that the BJP and the SAD alliance is in the offing? Do you think this alliance would be fruitful?

Kaur: The BJP-SAD alliance was called off during farmers’ agitation at Singhu border. Though some work or funds were given to Punjab through this alliance but PM Modi and Amit Shah never gave time to our leaders for any meeting during farmers protest. Punjab has its own issues and government must pay heed to them. Secondly, there is huge BJP interference in our religious matters. Akal Takht Sahib, the highest Sikh seat has been totally silenced. Separate Haryana Gurudwara management was created. Nanded Sahib has seen political interference and usurpation of power. The BJP interferes and instructs the working of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee also. This is unacceptable.

Subscribe: Join:

About The Author

1 thought on “SAD’s compromise with principles, core issues behind marginalisation in Punjab politics, says Bibi Jagir Kaur                   

  1. The interview of Bibi Jagir Kaur by Bhawna Malik is very timely and exploered the Sikh issues thinking almost every Sikh in day to day coversation. However, Bibi Jagir was the first female president of SGPC and she enjoyed other respectable positions in Shiromani Akali Dal as well.
    She told the journalist that she did not left the party but was expelled by the SAD leadership. She may join the party again in near future but the issues she raised are recorded in black and white at an approriate time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *