Saturday, Jun 14, 2003
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By our Staff Correspondent
The announcement to this effect was made by the two at the residence of the former Punjab Minister, Harmel Singh, who is also the son-in-law of Mr. Tohra. After being closeted for almost 90 minutes, the leaders told presspersons in Patiala that the respective factions had been disbanded and merged into one "Shiromani Akali Dal" which would be led by Mr. Badal.
The two had fallen apart on the eve of the tercentennial celebrations of the creation of the Khalsa order in 1999. Since then Mr. Tohra had been accusing Mr. Badal of defying a directive of the Akal Takht, which, on December 31, 1998, had appealed to all warring factions of the Akali Dal to maintain peace during the celebrations. According to insiders, Mr. Badal was under pressure from the BJP, which seeks a united "Sikh vote bank" for the coming Assembly polls in Delhi. .
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