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Sant Samaj To Contest 30 Seats

Jan 1, 2010
Sant Samaj to contest 30 seats
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 9
For the first time ever, the Sant Samaj will be contesting on a sizable number of seats in the SGPC elections, as the ruling SAD has forged an alliance with it and allotted it 30 out of the total 170 seats.

SAD secretary Daljeet Singh Cheema confirmed the development, stating that the SAD had retained 140 seats. This has come as a major boost to the Sant Samaj, which was part of the Panthic Morcha in the 2004 SGPC elections.

Samaj head Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi had also led the Panthic Morcha against the SAD last time.

Former Akal Takht Jathedar Jasbeer Singh Rode, who held parleys with the SAD on behalf of the Sant Samaj, said, “We had contested the SGPC polls in the 1970s last time when Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was heading the Damdami Taksal and had even won a few seats. However, this is the first time that we would be fielding so many candidates.”

He said they would play the role of a watchdog in the SGPC and ensure that the Sikh history and traditions are upheld. He said they would support the SAD candidates on the seats which they are not contesting. However, he made it clear that they would not support any candidate who is a ‘patit’ (apostate).

The Sant Samaj also managed to get Sirhind constituency from where the SGPC executive member from SAD, Karnail Singh Panjoli, got elected last time. The Samaj is fielding Gurpreet Singh Randhawa, son of its vice-president Baba Hari Singh Randhawa, from Sirhind.
Rajneesh Madhok
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Alliance with Sant Samaj aimed at Assembly poll
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Religion has taken a backseat to real politik in the SGPC elections with a candidate’s capacity to help the SAD in the coming assembly elections being the sole criterion for selection.

Till now the SAD would ask all candidates to fill a performa giving details as to when they were baptised and whether they followed theSsikh ‘rehat maryada’ besides queries about their contribution to the propagation of Sikhism.

Akali sources said this time the party has relied only on those designated incharge of assembly constituencies, whether sitting legislators or former legislators, to recommend the ideal candidate.

The idea is to use the SGPC elections as a springboard for the assembly elections and ensure the SGPC candidate and the future assembly constituency candidate work towards a common goal.

This strategy has created a piquant situation. The party has selected few candidates who are not baptised. The manager of the Damdama Sahib gurdwara at Talwandi Sabo says four SGPC candidates have opted for baptism in the last two days. The Akal Takth jathedar has also come out with a statement that all those who have been allocated ticket should undergo baptism immediately.

Party sources said besides selecting candidates as per the wishes of local political leaders, the SAD has reached a pact with the Sant Samaj, that has been offered 30 seats, with an eye to the assembly elections. The Sant Samaj consists of heads of various dera’s including the Damdami Taksal seminary, once headed by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

This community of ‘sants’ has always been at loggerheads with the SGPC and aligning with them would ensure their support in the assembly elections too. SAD sources claim the Chief Minister has brought the Sant Samaj, including hardliners like the Damdami Taksal, back into the mainstream by agreeing to share power with them.

PACT invites criticism

It is a political agreement not based on principles

— Joginder Singh Vedanti, former Akal Takht chief

The Sant Samaj doesn't follow the Sikh code of conduct

— MS Calcutta, former SGPC secretary

It is an unholy and unprincipled alliance

— Kanwarpal Singh, Dal Khalsa chief

The alliance will have dangerous repercussions in the days ahead

— Gursharanjeet Singh, GNDU scholar

Panthic Morcha fields 49 more candidates
Amarjit Thind/TNS from Jalandhar: The Panthic Morcha, comprising seven Sikh outfits, jointly contesting the SGPC poll announced another list of 49 candidates here today.

August 11 is the last day of filing the nominations. This is in addition to the 83 Panthic Morcha candidates already in the fray for the polls. With this, the Morcha has now fielded a total of 132 candidates.

On the remaining 38 seats, candidates from the alliance have filed their papers, but a final decision on whom to allot the party symbol would be taken mutually at a later date, said the SAD (1920) president Ravi Inder Singh here today.




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