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India SAD Polls Would Be A Referendum: Badal


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
CHANDIGARH: Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday said that SGPC elections would be "a referendum by the public (on SAD performance)". He was reacting to a query on whether SGPC poll results would have an effect on the coming assembly elections.

His claim comes days after the opposition Congress had urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) during its visit to Punjab this week to ensure that SGPC poll results should be withheld till Assembly elections, in order to minimize their impact.

SGPC polls are scheduled for September 22 while assembly elections are expected to be held early next year.

"These are SGPC elections for managing religious affairs and a large number of Sikhs would be voting in these polls. Their verdict would a referendum," the CM told mediapersons during an informal interaction after inducting several prominent leaders of Simranjit Singh Mann-led SAD (Amritsar), including three party candidates in SAD. The candidates had filed their papers on SAD (A) tickets, but have decided to sit in favour of SAD candidates, Badal said.

Mann`s long time associate and member of party`s political affairs committee Bhai Ram Singh who joined SAD on Friday said he and his associates were "impressed by the development spree carried out by SAD" which helped make them the decision to leave their party. He however could not explain how was this relevant to SGPC polls, which are meant for managing gurdwaras. He however added that he still held lot of regard for his former party chief Simranjit Singh Mann. The leaders, who from Amritsar, were presented before media by YAD chief Bikram Majithia.

Badal used the occasion to slam arch rivals Congress saying Panthic Morcha, which was challenging SAD for SGPC polls, was a group of "Congress agents". Sikhs, he said, could never tolerate Congress gaining control of their shrines. Asked how Sikhs of Delhi had then voted for Sarna group, which supports Congress, Badal said Sarna was using his influence to continue his hold on DGMC by delaying elections in Delhi, which should be held every year.

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