Amritsar, November 8, 2023: The election for president, other office-bearers and the executive body of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has been scheduled for tomorrow at Teja Singh Samundri Hall in the Golden Temple complex.
The present chief of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Harjinder Singh Dhami, is once again the choice of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the next annual term of the Sikh body’s house for the president’s post.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had declared Dhami’s name for the president post “well in advance”, foregoing the tradition of “lifafa culture”, as was mockingly said of SAD which used to open an envelope to declare their presidential candidate at the eleventh hour during the annual general house.
Rebel Akali leaders — including former SGPC president Jagir Kaur, SAD (Samyukt) chief Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and other like-minded Panthic organisation representatives — have announced former SAD MLA and Barnala SGPC member Balbir Singh Ghunas as their candidate to challenge Dhami.
Ghunas was expelled from SAD in March 2022 after he supported calls for leadership change in the party.
Ghunas said, “My fight was to bring transparency and maintain the supremacy of the Akal Takht which should be devoid of any political interference and stand for the Panthic cause. That’s the goal with which I am in the field, if given a chance,” he said.
In another first, during Badal’s meeting with SAD-affiliated SGPC members at the Teja Singh Samundri Hall, a resolution was “unanimously” passed to give all rights for constituting the panel of other office-bearers, after winning, to Dhami. Earlier, the members had to surrender rights to Badal for the same.
Badal said they had zeroed in on Dhami’s name after taking all SAD-supported members into confidence who had shown their satisfaction with Dhami to repeat.
On Ghunus, he said: “He is playing into the hands of anti-Sikh forces and SAD has always taken all challenges in its stride.”
Dhami has been on the coveted top post of the Sikh’s mini Parliament for consecutive two years: 2021-22 and 2022-23. During the 2022-2023 contest against rebel Jagir Kaur, of the 146 votes polled by SGPC members, Dhami had got 104 while Kaur secured 42 votes.