As signs of revolt became more apparent, Shiromani Akali Dal on Monday said party MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and his son Parminder Singh Dhindsa were suspended as they were being used as "pawns" by Punjab Chief Minister and Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh to weaken the 'panthic' party.
The Dhindsas, who have publicly criticised SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, were suspended on Saturday for "anti-party activities".
On Sunday, three Punjab ministers slammed the Akali Dal leadership alleging the opposition party "had been reduced to the personal fiefdom of the Badals".
SAD leaders Balwinder Singh Bhundur and Prem Singh Chandumajra claimed the Congress leaders who supported the Dhindsas after the sacking were "working as per a fixed game plan."
"The cat is out of the bag. The Dhindsa faction, which consists of Dhindsa, his son Parminder and son in law Tejinderpal Singh Sidhu only, are being feted and supported by Congress with the sole aim of splitting the panthic votes," they said in a statement.
Stating that the Congress party was living in a "fool's paradise", the senior Akali leaders said the entire rank and file of the SAD was solidly behind party chief Sukhbir Badal.
"The truth is that no one had left the SAD to join the Dhindsa faction. As many as 11 SGPC members from Sangrur and Barnala are standing rock solid with the SAD.
Even the four circle presidents nominated by the Dhindsa family recently have chosen to side with the SAD," they said.
Akali leaders said instead of trying to form a broad alliance with the Congress to take on the SAD, Sukhdev Dhindsa should first explain his own conduct to the people.
"Isn''t it a fact that Dhindsa has won only one election in the past 35 years? Hasn''t the SAD under the leadership of Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal rewarded him with plum posts by nominating him to Rajya Sabha besides making him a central minister," they asked.
The SAD leaders said Dhindsa senior was seeing Badal''s resignation as SAD president after the party lost the assembly election but was silent about his own accountability.
"Why didn''t you ever offer your resignation as secretary general of the SAD, a post which is only second to the president? Did you ever say you won''t ask for a Rajya Sabha berth," they asked.
The Akali leaders said the Dhindsa family was "used to taking all decisions in a dictatorial manner". "However when party workers started questioning their actions and demanded transparency in the functioning of Sangrur and Barnala units, they were the first to go against panthic ideals by aligning with the Congress party which was behind the stage-managed revolt."