Akali Dal needs to rein in its men


Tuesday's incident of a senior police officer being assaulted by "expelled" youth Akali Dal leaders in Ludhiana only adds to the growing impression that Punjab's ruling party is drunk on its own power in its second consecutive term.

It comes close on the heels of a party office-bearer, Ranjit Singh Rana, shooting down an assistant sub-inspector of police, who had asked him to stop stalking his daughter. Just a month ago, a relative of an Akali leader was held for allegedly abducting a minor girl from Faridkot in broad daylight after hitting her parents. While the police and local leaders had initially painted the case as a simple case of elopement, this was exposed when the girl expressed her desire to go back to her parents once she had been traced following protests.

Akali Dal leaders, including defeated candidates of the party, are known to flex muscles and dictate terms at police thanas, evidently with the patronage of senior leaders.

A direct correlation can be made with the Akali Dal's decision to redefine jurisdiction of police stations, making them contiguous with Assembly segments, as well as to make party leaders (including defeated Akali candidates) "halqa or constituency incharges".

This has allowed them to exercise influence on police personnel posted at these police stations and ride roughshod on their political opponents.

A government that saw two ministers being convicted and the resignation of another following corruption charges less than six months after taking over can ill-afford such incidents.

The Congress seems to realise that. Which explains why the party has gone to town with CDs and YouTube videos of Bikramjit Singh Majithia, a minister and one of Akali Dal's most powerful leaders, using abusive language against the Opposition in the Assembly.

Vipin is Editor, Punjab, vipin.pubby@expressindia.com

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