In a big blow to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), former Army Chief Gen JJ Singh resigned from the party Wednesday “disillusioned” with the party leadership.
Singh, who also served as the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, had joined the Akali Dal with much fanfare ahead of the Punjab assembly elections in early 2017 and had unsuccessfully contested against chief minister Amarinder Singh from the Patiala assembly constituency.
“I wish to inform you with a heavy heart that I have resigned from Shiromani Akali Dal and from the position of president of Shiromani Akali Dal, Ex-Servicemen wing with immediate effect due to personal reasons,” Singh wrote in his resignation letter to SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.
However, in an open letter to the people of Punjab the former general wrote, “I have resigned with a heavy heart from the Shiromani Akali Dal on December 11, 2018 and from the position of president of SAD Ex-Servicemen Wing. I am unhappy with actions of the leadership of the SAD in the last few years, such as those raised in the social media and TV channels and various demonstrations, morchas and protest marches.”
The former Army chief, who was the first Sikh to hold the post, said he entered active politics with the aim of serving the people, after “very satisfying tenures” as the Army chief for almost three years and as the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh for 5.5 years, where he claimed was given the sobriquet of a “People’s Governor”.
“Today, I feel disillusioned particularly with what I have seen and experienced in Punjab since 2016. Further, my mission to serve the people will not be affected by this decision,” he wrote.
Asked about his future course, he said he has kept his political options open.
Gen (retd) Singh was the first Sikh officer to become the Army Chief. He fought the 1965 and 1971 wars, apart from being among the architects of defeating Pakistani intruders in Kargil.