The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), which recently regained control of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) after an 11-year gap, is reportedly building consensus in favour of its Delhi unit president Manjit Singh GK as the new DSGMC president. The election of the new committee chief is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
Punjab chief minister and SAD-Badal patron Parkash Singh Badal, deputy CM and party president Sukhbir Badal and other senior Akali leaders have already reached Delhi.
The SAD-Badal had bagged 37 of the 46 seats in the January 27 polls, ousting Paramjit Singh Sarna-led SAD-Delhi, which won just eight seats (an Independent got one seat). Outgoing DSGMC president Sarna himself lost to Delhi unit's Youth Akali Dal president Manjinder Singh Sirsa from the Punjabi Bagh constituency.
The SAD-Badal's former Delhi unit president, Avtar Singh Hit, and first-time DSGMC member Onkar Singh Thapar are also staking claim for the top post.
The party would also form a 10-member executive committee and pick four other office-bearers, namely senior vice-president, vice-president, general secretary and joint secretary. Till 1971, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) used to nominate the president, office-bearers and executive members of the DSGMC.
GK, who became president of the SAD-Badal's Delhi unit in 2008, is the son of late Jathedar Santokh Singh. The latter was the DSGMC general secretary for nine years. He became the president in June 1981, but was shot dead six months later.
On November 15 last year, four-time DSGMC member GK was injured in a clash with the committee task force while trying to enter Gurdwara Rakabganj, where a meeting was in progress.
GK's faction, SAD-Panthic, had won 11 seats in the 2007 DSGMC elections. He merged his faction with the SAD-Badal in 2008.
"GK has strong chances, but there are other contenders also. The final decision is expected by Tuesday," said SAD secretary Dr Daljit Singh Cheema.
On January 27, the DSGMC had gone to the polls for the sixth time after the elections in 1975, 1979, 1995, 2002 and 2007. It was in the 1995 polls that the SAD-Badal had gained control of the DSGMC, with Sarna as the president. Sarna parted ways with the Badals in 1999, when then SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra separated himself from the SAD-Badal. In the 2002 and 2007 polls, the party lost badly, even as Tohra loyalist Sarna became the president again after forming his own faction, the SAD-Delhi.
Surjeet Singh, co-opted: Old SAD-Badal loyalist, associated with the party since 1960, lost January 27 elections from Chandni Chowk constituency
Kulmohan Singh, co-opted: DSGMC member since 1979; lost from Paharganj constituency
Col Gurmit Singh, SGPC nominee: Worked in Punjab government, army and retired as undersecretary, union government
GS Cheema: president, Singh Sabha, Vikaspuri
Dheeraj Kaur: president, Singh Sabha, Civil Lines