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Akali leader Wadala, 86, dies of cardiac arrest

Jalandhar, June 6: Veteran Akali leader and former Nakodar MLA Kuldip Singh Wadala (86) passed away on Tuesday following a cardiac arrest. A former SGPC general secretary, he was a sitting member of the Sikh body.

He is survived by four sons and three daughters. His son Gurpartap Wadala is Nakodar MLA while his son-in-law Arvinder Bains is an IAS officer.

Though Wadala contested at least four times, he became MLA only once in 1985 defeating his cousin and Congress leader Umrao Singh. The two fought against one another also in the 1980 Assembly polls and 1993 Lok Sabha Jalandhar bypolls and on both occasions Umrao Singh won.

“Sharing a warm relation otherwise, they indulged in healthy politics. As soon as elections would be over, they would shun their differences and sit together,” said ex-MLA Jagbir Brar, whose wife is closely related to the Wadalas.

Considered one of the most intellectual and powerful Akali leaders from the region in the 80s and 90s, he was well-connected with the national leadership of those times, including Harkishan Singh Surjit and Sharad Yadav.

“Armed with a BSc (agriculture) degree and a good command over English, he even used to write articles in papers, his favourite topics being French, Russian and Pakistan economies,” said Principal Jaspal Singh of Guru Nanak National College, Nakodar, of which Wadala was a patron. Wadala was also the president of Guru Nanak Girls Khalsa College, Sangh Dhesian, near Phillaur.

Hailing from a family of landlords of Pakistan, he had moved to Srin village in Nakodar. But the family lives at Wadala village near Jalandhar.

“This house was the venue of all meetings regarding the Longowal pact. All prominent Akali and SGPC leaders, including Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Parkash Singh Badal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra, used to sit here and do the planning,” Principal Jaspal Singh recalled.

In 1996, Wadala had left the Akali Dal owing to ideological differences with Badal and formed his own party SAD (Democratic). However, the party merged with the SAD (Badal) in 2004. He had last contested elections from Nakodar in 2007, which he lost. Since then his son Gurpartap has been contesting and has won on both occasions.

Though Wadala could not speak clearly for the past few years, he still remained active and used to hold press conferences regularly demanding a safe corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur Gurdwara in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak lived for 18 years.

Jagdeep Singh, Wadala’s youngest son, said, “We are yet to finalise the date for cremation as we are waiting for our family members to reach here from abroad.”

Source Tribune India

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