Punjab: Senior Akali Leader And Former Agriculture Minister Jathedar Tota Singh Passes Away

Former Agriculture Minister in the erstwhile Akali govt and senior Akali leader Jathedar Tota Singh (81) passed away at his residence in Sector 18, Chandigarh. 

Jathedar Tota Singh completed his school education from his village school and for further studies he joined DM college Moga. He belonged to the Shiromani Akali Dal. He was Minister for Agriculture & NRI Affairs in the previous Punjab Government led by the Akali Dal. He was Senior Vice President and member of the High Power Committee of Shiromani Akali Dal, and also a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Political journey of Jathedar Tota Singh:

He was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1997 on Akali Dal ticket from Moga assembly constituency, and made the Minister for Education during 1997–2002. In 2002, he was re-elected from Moga, and In 2012, he successfully contested from Dharamkot assembly constituency. He was cabinet minister and held portfolio of Agriculture & NRI Affairs in the Akali Dal govt under the CMship of Parkash Singh Badal. He also served at designation of Chairman Punjab Mandi Board 1985-1987 under Surjit Singh Barnala government, and was a continuous member of Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandak Committee (known as Sikh Parliament) for many years.

Tota Singh was once a close confidante of former Punjab chief minister Surjit Singh Barnala. It was Barnala when he was the chief minister in 1986 who appointed Tota Singh as the chairman of the Punjab Marketing Board. Before that Tota Singh was just a circle level jathedar. His close associates fondly recall how Tota was also popular in the area for carrying a mouser pistol around his waist covered in a wooden holster when he was emerging as a circle level leader. Later, when Barnala lost political grip in Punjab and Parkash Singh Badal begin to emerge as the prominent leader in the state Tota started to cement his ties with the later.

In 2017, Jathedar Tota Singh contested the assembly election from Dharamkot Assembly Constituency but was defeated by Sukhjit Singh (INC) who succeeded him as the MLA from Dharamkot. In the recent assembly elections, the Akali Dal had fielded him from Dharamkot, and his son Barjinder Singh Brar (Makhan) from Moga, but both, the father and the son, lost to the AAP candidates from Dharamkot and Moga. The passing away of Jathedar Tota Singh is seen as a huge loss to Shiromani Akali Dal.

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