Embarrassed Akalis in damage control mode


Chandigarh : Embarrassed by the open revolt of Jasjit Singh Bunny, the son of late cabinet minister Kanwaljit Singh, Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal Saturday went into damage control mode, saying Bunny was the natural heir to his father’s political legacy.

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An annoyed Bunny had Friday quit the Akali Dal and also his post as chairman of a state-owned cooperative bank.

Bunny’s outburst against the Akali Dal came after Akali Dal president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal’s negative response to demands from various quarters that he be inducted as a minister in his father’s place.

Sukhbir Badal maintained that the party had already “adjusted” Bunny.

On Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said: “I can understand his pain. He (Bunny) is the natural heir of his father’s legacy.”

Kanwaljit Singh, a close confidant of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was killed in a car crash last Sunday.

Badal senior said that he and his party were immensely proud of the contribution of Kanwaljit Singh and his family to the cause of Punjab and the party.

“We are fully alive to our great responsibility towards his family which I treat as an extension of my own family,” Badal said in a statement here.

“Even I have not fully recovered from the shock of losing our dearest and most dependable colleague. Captain Saab had stood by me during the most difficult periods of my life and he was always a strong pillar of strength to me personally and to the entire Shiromani Akali Dal whenever we faced any crisis.”

“We can never adequately repay our debt to him but I am fully committed to stand by the family in every way. This would only be my humble tribute to the great man to whom I had turned every time I needed support, help and advice,” the chief minister said.

The damage control exercise came just a day ahead of Kanwaljit Singh’s memorial ceremony to be held at Chhat village, 25 km from here.