Former Punjab agriculture minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Tota Singh passed away after a prolonged illness. He was 80-years-old.
Last year, he suffered from pneumonia that infected his lungs. He was admitted to the Fortis Hospital in Mohali this week due to a liver ailment.
Being a trusted person of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, he was a sitting member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). The veteran politician is known for making English a compulsory subject from Class 1 in government schools. He represented the Moga Assembly segment twice and was once elected from Dharamkot.
Five-time Chief Minister and SAD patron-in-chief Parkash Singh Badal said Punjab has lost a "strong Panthic voice that always remained unflinching in commitment to the tenets and ideals set before us by the great Guru Sahiban". He added the Shiromani Akali Dal will always be inspired and guided by the indefatigable spirit of Jathedar Tota Singh.
About his 50-year-long association with Tota Singh, he said Jathedar Sahib was a tireless crusader and was always among the first to offer to make sacrifices for safeguarding the interests of the Sikhs, Punjab, and Punjabis. "His commitment to the ideals of Punjab's unity and of peace and communal harmony continued to strengthen my own commitment in this regard".
He mentioned that Tota Singh played a major role in Akali Dal's tireless efforts to reclaim the glory of the Khalsa Panth after the community had been hit hard by the events of 1984. The. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is the second oldest party in India and was founded in 1920.