Anandpur Sahib, Sep 3 (UNI) Bowing to pressures from certain sections of his party, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today became a 'amritdhari' (baptised) Sikh.
He got himself baptised by partaking 'Amrit' (holy water) at Takht Keshgarh Sahib in this historic town, which is the birthplace of the 'Khalsa'.
The junior Badal, son of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, arrived at 0700 hrs and went to Takht Keshgarh Sahib, where he partook 'Amrit' from the 'Panj Piaras' (five beloved ones).
He also paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum, where Takht Jathedar, Giani Tarlochan Singh presented him 'siropa'. He also listened to 'Gurbani Kirtan' for some time there.
Sukhbir's visit to Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib was kept a secret. As the news spread about his arrival several local leaders of the Akali Dal, civil and police officials also reached there.
By becoming a baptised Sikh, Sukhbir Badal has fulfilled an important clause in the constitution of the Akali Dal, which clearly says that only baptised Sikhs could be the president of the party.
Sukhbir was facing criticism from leaders of rival factions of Akali Dal and other Sikh organisations for not getting himself baptised after becoming the president of SAD last year. Even the leaders of his own party including Punjab Minister for Cooperation Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Ranjit Singh Brahmpura had advised him to get himself baptised.
Sukhbir took over the reins of SAD from his father, the Chief Minister, who himself is a baptised Sikh.
UNI HS SP RK1640