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HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014

After conquering Delhi, Akalis look beyond to expand base

HT Correspondent  Amritsar, February 04, 2013
First Published: 19:14 IST(4/2/2013) | Last Updated: 19:34 IST(4/2/2013)

After its landslide victory in the recently held elections to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and with securing its base in Punjab for another four years, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will focus on expanding its base beyond the national capital region.

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This was revealed by deputy chief minister and SAD chief, Sukhbir Singh Badal here on Monday, after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple and felicitating the newly elected SAD members to the DSGMC at the SGPC headquarters in the shrine complex.  He made this announcement in the presence of his brother-in-law and Youth Akali Dal (YAD) chief Bikram Singh Majithia, who too played a key role in the party's victory in the  DSGMC elections.
 
" We will now seriously consider the issue of putting up SAD candidates in the Sikh dominant areas of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Rajasthan, Uttrakhand and even Madhya Pradesh (MP),", he said while answering queries of the media.

He pointed out that SAD has an MLA in Haryana and it had contested seats in the last Vidhan Sabha polls in Delhi.

"Now the party will take a call on whether it should put up its candidates in UP, MP and  other states. We will consider contesting seats with alliance partners where the sikh population was in dominance, so as to fulfill the aspiration of sikhs", he said.

He also announced that the party would fight the next Vidhan Sabha elections in Delhi on its own party symbol. On a question of sharing of seats with BJP in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections, he reiterated that their relationship with BJP was an "emotional and integral one and was far beyond the issue of seat sharing".

On Modi being projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate, he said that SAD had been consistent on its line that it would go with the choice of NDA on this issue. When asked about Moga byelection, he said that he was sure SAD candidate Joginder Pal Jain would record a marginal win.

Sarnas lost due to arrogance

Earlier while addressing the newly elected members of DSGMC, Badal said that credit for the victory of SAD candidates was due to the blessings of the 'waheguru'. He said that this election was a lesson for all, particularly the newly-elected members to remain humble.

"We all have to act as humble servants of the community and power vested in us by the 'waheguru' should not go to our heads. The Sarna brothers and their party lost due to their arrogance. So the defeat of the Sarnas is a lesson for all of us, they became arrogant and thought that they were above the 'quam' ", he added.

Taking a cue from SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, who was also present on the occasion, Badal said the victory was a reiteration of the faith of the Sikh community in the supremacy of the Akal Takht, from where the Sikhs seek guidance.

"The message was clear that treacherous elements in the 'quam' who always think of dividing the Sikhs for petty personal gains are punished. The Congress like the British have always tried its utmost to divide the Sikhs through its agents like the Sarnas. But this time the Congress has been given a befitting reply", he said.

Outlining the agenda of newly constituted committee, he said that its primary task will be to work towards introducing transparency in its working and financial management. He said that the committee would soon constitute an educational board for professional manage of schools and colleges being run by the committee.

He assured the Delhi Sikhs that SAD was committed to fulfill all promises made to the electorate in its manifesto. He advised the elected members to re-dedicate their lives for the service of gurdwaras, for which they had been chosen.

Makkar on his part assured the DSGMC of all help and hoped a better coordination will be established between the two religious bodies. All the elected members were honoured with 'siropas', a sword each and a photograph of the Golden Temple.

The DSGMC members led by SAD chief Manjit Singh GK also paid obeisance at the Golden Temple.  Manjit Singh on his part gave due credit for the party's victory to Badals and Majithia.

Other prominent members present included senior SAD leader and former union minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and Inderbir Singh Bularia, chief parliamentary secretary besides some senior members and officials of the SGPC.

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