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India Religious Politics In SGPC

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Religious politics in SGPC

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 15:30

By Sukhpal Kaur

It seems that heydays of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar are over. Once considered as one of the close aides and confidants of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, Makkar’s countdown has certainly begun.

Badal discontented over Makkar’s stand during the Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee (TPSMC) poll had asked him to tender his resignation from the committee. Following the orders, Makkar’s resignation have been forwarded to Patna Sahib.

It all began when BJP leader SS Ahluwalia, who earlier lost his Rajya Sabha seat from Jharkhand, lost election in TPSMC on June 18 to Badal’s archrival former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief Harvinder Singh Sarna, also general secretary of SAD (Delhi).

Ahluwalia was elected as president for several years while he was a Congress member before switching to BJP. Even when he was not president, he controlled the reins of the committee as his confidants controlled it.

Meanwhile, SGPC chief who had reached Patna Sahib for the election had tried for a consensus but did not cast his vote.

Ahluwalia had the support of SAD. Though he could muster only 4 votes, Sarna got 9 votes. The committee has 14 members, while Makkar abstained from voting, it was to elect 15th member. This has come as a major setback to Ahluwalia as he finally lost the influence in Takht Patna Sahib.

It is worth mentioning that though Makkar was advocating for a consensus, he wanted the members to suggest any other name but Sarna. While, Sarna demanded that some local leader should be elected as the president as the local leaders were not happy with leaders from Punjab holding the post.

Meanwhile, former SGPC secretary general Manjit Singh Calcutta said Ahluwalia, had earlier sided with Congress during Operation Bluestar and militancy days in Punjab but later sided with BJP to reap his own political benefits. Hailing the verdict in favour of Sarna, he said, “the election has confirmed that SAD is losing its grip over the Sikhs living in other states, adding that , the Sikhs have already rejected the changes brought about by SGPC in Nanakshahi calendar.”

These voices of rebellion have reached Punjab also and Parkash Singh Badal has taken a serious note of the whole development. Keeping in mind, his alliance with BJP, Badal asked Makkar to resign from the post of TPSMC.

As per sources, Badal also feels that Makkar did not cast his vote intentionally which definitely went in favour of Sarnas.

It seems that Makkar saab is not in the ‘good books’ of Badal these days. In another development, Makkar has asked SGPC general secretary Dilmegh Singh to take another date of hearing for the Sehajdhari case (due on July 26) so that he can enjoy his presidentship till November.

Not only this, Makkar even intends to hire another lawyer for the case. This intention of Makkar has reached Badal as well.

Meanwhile, Sarna brothers who have refused to make any such comments on the issue said, the resignation of Makkar has reached the committee officers and while be accepted in the next meeting.