DNA India – Punjab Elections 2017: CIA report claims CM Badal sided with Sikh extremists in ’80s

A recently declassified report states that Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal had sided with Sikh extremists against the state government.

Chandigarh, Panjab, 24 January 2017. A recently declassified CIA report states that current Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal had sided with Sikh extremists against the Punjab state government in the 1980s, reports Hindustan Times.

Filed under ‘India and the Sikh Challenge’ titled ‘India’s Most Important Sikhs’, the report said: “He (Badal) is working to advance his personal fortunes by heading his own Akali Dal dissident party and siding with Sikh extremists against the state government.

Twice chief minister of Punjab (1970-71 and 1977), Badal continues to try to position himself as a future candidate for that post.”

The CIA closely monitored the situation in the state and talked about Operation Bluestar which took place between June 1 and June 6, 1984 at the Golden Temple.

The report says: “Indira Gandhi’s decision to send in the army against Sikh militants in Punjab last May was an admission that her political strategy to defuse the crisis had failed. The paramilitary troops she had sent earlier had failed to bring the well-armed extremists to heel.

The unrest in Punjab in our view also provided Gandhi with a justification for augmenting her military forces in a critical border state. We estimate that between mid-May and Mid-June the army deployed 20,000-25,000 troops to Punjab from adjoining regional commands to reinforce the more than 100,000 army personnel already there.”

The report also talks about Rajiv Gandhi’s attempts to appear as a moderate after the 1987 elections and the report says: “He might also choose to release Sikh detainees and offer agricultural subsidies to supplement the accord provisions. Concessions on autonomy would be unlikely. Even under the best scenario the likelihood of Gandhi eventually falling victim to a Sikh assassin would be about even,” it adds.

The report comes at an explosive time, as state of Punjab gears up for polls and might have repercussions.

Three way battle in Punjab

With battle lines drawn for the February 4 polls to Punjab Assembly, a high-octane battle of ballot is on the cards especially in some of the constituencies where the heavyweights of the three main parties are contesting.

The new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is adding a third dimension to the contest which has been dominated by Congress and Akali Dal-BJP alliance so far. All eyes will be riveted on the high-profile constituencies of Lambi, Jalalabad, Amritsar east, Lehragagga, Patiala and Batala seats as elections will be held for the 117-member Assembly.

Lambi, a pocket borough of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, is set to witness a keen battle with Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh challenging the Akali patriarch and AAP’s Jarnail Singh making in roads into traditional votes of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Besides, deputy chief minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal is locked in a fierce battle in Jalalabad against AAP’s Bhagwant Mann and Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu.

At Lehragagga, former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal is seeking re-election and burning mid night oil to oppose SAD’s heavyweight leader and finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, who has changed his seat from Sunam in these polls.

Former soldiers Captain (retd) Amarinder Singh of Congress and General (retd) J J Singh of SAD are fighting it out from Patiala urban seat, a traditional bastion of Congress.

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is a key man to watch from Amritsar east as he is in the fray on Congress ticket, while AAP’s Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi is battling it out from Batala.

A total of 1,146 candidates are in the fray for Punjab Assembly polls which is set to witness three-cornered contest between SAD-BJP, Congress and new entrant AAP. Other political outfits in the fray include BSP, former AAP leader Sucha Singh Chottepur-led Apna Punjab Party, the Left comprising CPI and CPI(M), and SAD-Amritsar.

The Assembly election in Punjab is also considered a test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity post demonetisation. SAD has fielded candidates in 94 seats while its ally BJP has nominated candidates in remaining 23 seats. Congress is contesting alone on all seats.

AAP, which is contesting Punjab polls for the first time, has fielded its candidates in 112 seats, while its ally Lok Insaf Party, led by Ludhiana-based Bains brothers, have fielded its nominees in five seats.

Punjab was the only state which gave AAP its four MPs in the 2014 parliamentary election.

Just like AAP’s performance in 2014, its fortunes in the state remain unpredictable. Just a year ago, AAP seemed unbeatable, but now appears on a sticky wicket, political observers said.

More than the opposition, the party suffered due to blows from within. Most of the prominent faces it fielded in 2014 or those who joined it then have either been kicked out or pushed to fringe.

Allegations of corruption in ticket allocation, infighting and stings by party activists on each other are some of the hurdles AAP faces. The Assembly polls are crucial for Congress’ revival.

A total of 1,145 candidates are in fray for the February 4 Punjab Assembly polls, state Chief Electoral Officer V K Singh said here today after withdrawal and rejection of nominations.

Earlier, 1,941 nominations had been filed for the polls. Among the parties, Congress has fielded candidates on 117 seats while new entrant AAP has nominated 112 candidates. Ruling SAD has 94 contestants and its ally BJP has 23 candidates who are contesting polls.

Former AAP leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur led Apna Punjab Party (APP) and SAD (Amritsar) have fielded candidates on 77 seats and 54 seats, respectively. BSP has fielded 111 candidates and All India Trinamool Congress has 20 contestants for assembly polls, he said.

Sanaur constituency in Patiala district has the highest number of 18 candidates while Khemkaran and Fatehgarh Sahib have the minimum of five candidates each. Six candidates are in the fray in Lambi constituency in Muktsar district from where Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and state Congress chief Amarinder Singh are contesting.

Besides political parties, 304 Independents are fighting assembly polls, he said. Punjab CEO further informed that 55 general observers, 50 expenditure observers and 27 police observers have reached the state in the wake of assembly polls.

There are a total of 1,98,79,069 voters in the state, out of which 1.05 crore are male and 93.75 lakh are female, he said. Third gender vote in the state is 415 and service voters are 1.50 lakh, he said, adding there are also 364 NRI votes in the state. There are 4,05,800 voters who are eligible to exercise their franchise for first time.

Sharing details about the paid news cases in the state, Singh said that 46 notices were issued to the candidates concerned. Out of these, 16 were found to be cases of certified paid news, four were declared unpaid news and 26 were under process, he said. Singh said the expenditure related to paid news would be added to the poll expenditure of respective candidates.

Candidates against whom paid news cases were found included Congress candidates Darshan Lal, Angad Singh, Raja Amarinder Singh Warring, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, AAP candidate Atul Nagpal and Independent Sukhdarshan Singh, as per information provided by CEO Office.



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