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Gurpreet Singh Nibber , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, January 05, 2013
The Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal (SAD-B), which is fighting hard to regain control over the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), has decided to corner the ruling SAD-Delhi over its refusal to follow the Akal Takht's edict to use the modified Nanakshahi calendar. The DSGMC is finally scheduled to go to polls on January 27. The current DSGMC's four-year term had actually ended in 2011, but the polls were not held.

The Akal Takht based in Amritsar, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, had issued the original Nanakshahi calendar in 2003 to determine gurpurbs and other religious dates. It was altered in 2009 to align with the lunar calendar, but the DSGMC follows the original 2003-issued calendar.

"Sikhs across globe are confused because the DSGMC doesn't accept the (2009-issued) Nankshahi calendar. The anger of the Sikhs over this is going to be a big issue," said Manjit Singh GK, president of Delhi unit of the SAD-B. Led by Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, the SAD-B plans to release its manifesto by next week. "On coming back to power in the DSGMC, we will switch to the calendar mandated by the Akal Takht," said Manjit Singh.

However, DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna, who heads the SAD-Delhi, said, "Yes, we have rejected the altered calendar. But what is wrong in that? Akal takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh has sent a written communiqué that celebrating gurpurbs is important, and the difference in dates at different locations is not an issue," he claimed.

But Manjit Singh said, "Almost all 1,200 Singh Sabhas in Delhi celebrate gurpurbs as per the 2009-issued calendar. It has alienated the DSGMC, as only the 10 historical gurdwaras under its control follow the old dates."

Delhi has around 15 lakh Sikhs, of which 4.5 lakh are registered DSGMC voters.

Manjit Singh also listed "the deteriorating levels of education in DSGMC-run schools" as a major issue.

Candidates announced

Of the 46 DSGMC constituencies, the SAD-Badal has announced candidates for 35, while the Sarnas' SAD-Delhi has named 43 nominees. "Names for Jungpura, Rohini and Fatehnagar would be out on Sunday," said Paramjit Singh Sarna. SAD-Badal is expected to announce its remaining candidates by next week. The 51-member House has five nominated or co-opted members.