The Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday expelled the former Finance Minister of Punjab, Manpreet Singh, from its primary membership for indulging in anti-party activities. MLAs Jagbir Singh Brar and Manjinder Singh Kang were issued show cause notice for supporting him.
The expulsion decision was taken at a meeting of the party's Disciplinary Affairs Committee. It was presided over by senior leader Ranjit Singh Brahmpura who is a Minister in the Akali Dal-BJP government.
On October 12, Mr. Manpreet Singh was suspended from the party and directed to appear before the DAC on October 20. He incurred the wrath of the party for going to the media with views on a “proposal” from the Union Government to waive a portion of the debt against the State.
While advocating need to grasp the opportunity, he supported some “pre-conditions” to withdraw subsidies, especially to the farm sector. This was considered to be completely opposite to the party programme and ignited a bitter debate. He had been voicing a similar opinion over the last three years.
Earlier, Mr. Manpreet Singh denied the charge of indiscipline and ruled out the possibility of a rapprochement with party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is his cousin. He had also announced his decision not to present himself before the DAC.
According to party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema, the DAC, which included veteran leaders Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Jathedar Tota Singh and Gurdev Singh Badal waited for Mr. Manpreet Singh for over an hour in the party's head office here before recommending his expulsion.
The rebel leader won from the Gidderbaha seat in Muktsar district four times in a row. He was also the member of the Akali Dal's highest decision making body, the Political Affairs Committee.
As for the two MLAs against whom disciplinary action has been initiated, Mr. Brar, who represents the Jalandhar Cantonment seat, is Mr. Manpreet Singh's cousin. Mr. Kang is an Akali MLA from Beas in Amritsar district.
Akali MLA Baba Ajit Singh from Anandpur Sahib, who earlier supported Mr. Manpreet Singh, returned to the party fold on Tuesday.