Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today announced a set of ground breaking changes aimed at strengthening the SAD as well as giving more space to youth, women as well as other sections of society by announcing the party would establish its new organizational structure from the bottom to up through an electoral system to be overseen by a newly constituted Central Election Body.

The SAD president, who held a press conference here to announce the first set of changes while flanked by the senior leadership said the party would stick to its core principles including the need for a true federal structure, taking all sections of society and people from all religious faiths with it in keeping with the ideals of the Guru Sahiban and continuing to uphold the need for peace and communal harmony in the State. He also asserted that the SAD, which was the oldest regional party with a 102 year old track record of service to the poor, farmers and labourers as well as the ‘panth’ and the ‘quom’, would continue to rise to serve the regional aspirations of people of Punjab.

Calling upon Punjabis to understand which parties wanted to divide them for their petty political goals, Sukhbir Badal while elaborating on the changes being instituted by the party, announced it would concentrate on developing the next generation of leaders by reserving fifty per cent seats in the forthcoming assembly election for party workers who were below the age of fifty years.

Sukhbir Badal said changes would be effected at the highest level of decision making in the party – the core committee – also. He said the core committee would be reconstituted to include members of the new generation including youth, women and representatives of all sections of society.

He also announced that the party would henceforth follow the principle of one family one ticket. He announced that upon formation of the government Chairmanships at both the district and State level would be given to party workers and that family members of MPs and MLAs would not be considered for these posts. “The aim is to give maximum opportunity to workers and groom them as the next generation of leaders”. He also announced that henceforth District Presidents would not contest the elections.

Giving details of the decisions taken after due consultation with party workers, leaders, intellectuals and well wishers of the party, Badal said elections to the new organizational structure would be completed by November 30 under the supervision of the Central Election Body. He said 117 Observers would be appointed to oversee the entire exercise across all constituencies of the State. “The focus will be on creation of Booth Committees which will choose the Booth President. The latter will elect the Circle Presidents who in turn will elect the District Presidents”.

Keeping in view the focus on strengthening party organizations,  Sukhbir Badal announced that the YAD and SOI would be reconstituted and that the Sikh Student Federation would be revived. He said the upper age for YAD members would be 35 years of age with a five year concession in age being given to the President. He said similarly the upper age of SOI and SSF members would be thirty years only and only students would be enrolled in these organizations.

Badal also announced that the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes would be given due representation in the party at all levels. He also announced the formation of an Advisory Board including intellectuals and learned people from all walks of life who would advise the President on important matters. He also announced that henceforth all Sikh office bearers in the party would be ‘sabat soorat’ besides announcing that the President of the party would be eligible to hold office for two terms of five years each following which the incumbent would have to take a break of one term. “This will lead to induction of fresh leadership at the very top”, he added.

The new changes also include formation of a Parliamentary Board which will examine ways and means to attract best talent into the party as well as suggest best candidates for the assembly elections. Badal announced that a Disciplinary Board headed by Mr Sikander Singh Maluka had already been created and appealed to party workers to air their differences in the appropriate party forums and not go to the media.

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