RSS asks BJP to reconsider alliance with Akali Dal
Bajinder Pal Singh, Indian Express
Chandigarh, May 19: The Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) has raked up the issue of the Akal Takht directive asking Sikhs to severe ties with them. At two meetings held recently, the RSS objected to the letter and asked the BJP to take it up with the Akali Dal.
The RSS has also sought withdrawal of the letter, failing which they have asked the BJP to reconsider its ties with the Akali Dal.
The letter issued by five Jathedars for the Sikh community has been discussed in the last two meetings of the RSS. The first meeting was held in Amritsar late last month, where the Punjab unit of the RSS discussed the issue. This month, a meeting of the RSS held at Jhandewala finally decided to take up the matter with the BJP.
“The BJP has been asked to question the Akali Dal on this issue, and exert pressure on them to get the letter revoked,” a party insider said. Failing which, the BJP should take a second look at their ties with the Akali Dal, they were told. However, a senior Akali leader dismissed it as a ploy to get the directive revoked. ‘‘Moreover, the party in-charge of Punjab Arun Jaitely has already met Parkash Singh Badal recently and they can handle the issue well,” he quipped.
Jaitely is also expected to be in Chandigarh during the next few days. The directive was issued by the five Sikh high priests during the celebration of the 400 years of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in 2004. During the celebrations, Rashtriya Sikh Sangat (a wing of the RSS) chief Gurcharan Singh had announced that 400 committees had been set up all over the country to oversee the successful organisation of the programmes. The RSS had drawn up an elaborate plan to take out 15 yatras to be organised from the birthplaces of all the saints and gurus whose views are part of the Guru Granth Sahib. The yatras were to congregate in New Delhi and conclude at Amritsar-Ramsar. However, various Sikh organisations objected to the move, claiming that this was a move by the RSS to infiltrate into the Sikh community. They also submitted a detailed memorandum of activities of the RSS, which was labelled as ‘‘objectionable’’. Following a series of meetings, the five Sikh high priests issued a directive to Sikhs to severe ties with the RSS.
The RSS feels that since elections are around the corner, this is an opportune moment to take up the issue. The BJP, on the other hand, is not ready to contest the elections on its own and still rides piggyback on the Akali Dal. Moreover, any strain in ties with the Akali Dal will harm the NDA as well. The Akali Dal was one of the first parties to join the NDA.