ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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as the leader of the united party. This ascendance of the moderates among the Akalis. in turn, has a two-fold significance. First, it puts a final seal, as of now. on the defeat of the militant and secessionist forces in Sikh and larger Punjab politics. Second, it shows that the political element in the Sikh tradition has not given up its struggle against the religio- temporal forces. While the defeat of the militants would open the way for the ushering in of electoral politics in the state in its full force, the continuing struggle of the political element in the Sikh tradition to emerge as an independent force - unencumbered by the religious side of the tradition represented by the priests who evoke the traditional dominance of the religions over the political in order to assert their authority has longer term consequences for state politics. For, truly democratic politics, in its current modern sense, cannot take root in the state till the Sikh priestly class has been shown its place which is to conduct the religious affairs of the Sikhs without interfering in their politics. The struggle against the priestly class has, in the recent past, been carried out by the moderate Akali Dal(B) which refused to forge unity with the other factions on the terms put for ward by the head priest of the Akal Takht. It is a good augury that this faction has been able to impose its own conditions on the head priest as is shown by the unity declaration.

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