The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has roped in Damdami Taksal, once headed by late militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, and other Sikh groups in an effort to wrest control of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).
"Raj bina naa dharam chaley hai, dharam bina sab daley-maley hai (Religion can't do without power, and nothing is worthwhile without religion)" this adage, quoted repeatedly by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, is being echoed by his son and deputy Sukhbir Badal.
At a press conference here, Sukhbir introduced Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Dhuma, former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode and other preachers who have been canvassing aggressively for the SAD and taking up the "cause of the Akal Takht".
"We will never allow (DSGMC president) Paramjit Singh Sarna to denigrate the sanctity of the Akal Takht," said Dhuma in his address to a group of some 200 men and women gathered at Sukhbir's residence here under the banner of the DSGMC employees' association. 'Aggrieved' employees were ferried to the place in buses arranged by the SAD.
The leaders argued that Sarna had not abided by the Akal Takht Jathedar's diktat to follow the Nanakshahi calendar.
An association member said Sarna and other leaders at the helm of affairs in the DSGMC had harassed employees who wanted fair wages and implementation of Pay Commission recommendations.
"Clean, clean," said Sukhbir, when asked about the outcome of the January 27 elections. Did he mean a clean sweep? He nodded with a smile, "You see how will he (Sarna) will be finished off."
"The Panth's fight against Sarna is on," he exclaimed to the crowd.
Talking to HT later, Sukhbir promised that the polls would be peaceful.
While the SAD termed the support of Damdami Taksal and Rode as a shot in the arm, Sarna said this would not hamper the prospects of the SAD-Delhi. "All of them (Dhuma and Rode) were already with the Badals," Sarna said.
Sarna, however, conceded that employees of the DSGMC, largely including teaching and non-teaching staff of DSGMC schools and colleges, were not getting salaries as per the 6th Pay Commission.
"They keep getting dearness allowance, whenever it's possible for us to pay it," he added.