After Punjab assembly polls, there’s another big fight the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is heading for – Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) polls, on February 26.
The announcement of support by Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda to the SAD before Punjab polls would be among the poll planks of Paramjit Singh Sarnaled SAD (Delhi) and the Aam Aadmi Party-supported Panthic Sewa Dal (PSD), which is contesting the Delhi gurdwara polls for the first time.
DSGMC president Manjit Singh GK, who also heads SAD (Badal) unit in Delhi, claims he had opposed the dera support to Akali candidates, calling it against the Sikh tenets. “It was only DSGMC which stopped the dera over the past four years from spreading its roots in Delhi,” said GK.
With three key players in the fray, it is going to be fiercely contested gurdwara polls that would elect 46 of the total 53 members in the DSGMC house.
“There is no involvement of the AAP in gurdwara polls. In fact, we are against any political party taking part in the religious matters of Sikhs,” Avtar Singh, AAP MLA from Kalkaji who heads the PSD as convener, said.
“Ending corruption in the DSGMC, educating children of under-privileged Sikh families, rehabilitation of 1984 riot victims, dharam parchar and setting up a blood bank are on our top agenda,” Avtar Singh told HT. The PSD has already announced 42 candidates for the polls and 4 others would be named shortly.
- The AAP-supported Panthic Sewa Dal (PSD) is contesting the Delhi gurdwara polls for the first time.
- The Akal Sahai Welfare Society, led by former jathedar of Akal Takht Ranjit Singh, is also contesting in 20 segments.
- Talking to HT, Ranjit Singh said he has been making efforts to make a strong third force.
- He said he was in touch with the PSD and Sikh Sadhbhawna Dal, led by Baldev Singh Wadala. “At the time of withdrawal of nominations, we will try to ensure one common candidate of all three groups from each of the 46 segments so that votes are not divided,” he added.
Sarna, who remained president of the DSGMC for over ten years between 1995 and 2013 during different terms, said the corruption allegations levelled against him by GK were never proved. “What they have done is known to everybody. They exhausted all the savings and were unable to give salaries to DSGMC employees,” he said.
On PSD’s entry into gurdwara polls, Sarna said it was an arm of AAP and a Hindu-led party could never win DSGMC polls. The contest would be between his party and SAD (Badal), he added.
Both Sarna and Avtar Singh felt that the SAD (Badal) violated the Sikh tenets by seeking the support of Dera Sacha Sauda during Punjab polls.