The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) staged a thumping victory in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) polls, result of which was declared on Wednesday. The party bagged 35 of the 46 seats and the main rival, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi), could win only seven.
Two Independent candidates also got elected and two seats went to Akal Sahai Welfare Society, a religious outfit that entered the contest for the first time. Panthic Sewa Dal, a frontal organisation founded by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), failed to open an account.
This is second consecutive victory of the SAD (Badal) in the Delhi gurdwara body polls. The DSGMC manages 10 historical religious shrines in the national capital and a number of educational and medical institutions. In the 2013 elections, the SAD (Badal) had won 37 seats and the tally of SAD (Delhi) was the same (8) as this time.
In a tight contest in which 1.75 lakh of total 3.8-lakh Sikh electorate exercised their right to vote, the victory margin in half-a-dozen seats was less than 10% of the total votes. A total of 335 candidates had contested the elections, the polling for which was held on February 26.
SAD (Badal) Delhi unit president Manjit Singh GK, the president of the outgoing body, was declared winner from Greater Kailash for the fifth consecutive term. Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the general secretary of the outgoing gurdwara body, defeated former DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna for the second consecutive term from the Punjabi Bagh ward.
GK, who led his party’s poll campaign, attributed the victory to the Sikh sangat. “The sangat has appreciated my performance in the form of their precious votes. Also, the results are a befitting reply to all those who said panthic vote had gone away from the Akali Dal,” he said. After the results, GK reached Gurdwara Bangla Sahib to meet the supporters and in the evening, he met party president Sukhbir Singh Badal in the national capital.
Praising the good work done by DSGMC president GK during the four-year term, Sukhbir said GK was aptly rewarded by the Sikh community for his good work. “Today’s results are a precursor to what would happen to AAP in Punjab,” Sukhbir said. He will meet party’s all 46 candidates who contested the DSGMC polls, on Thursday.
Sarna, who is known for making expletives-filled comments against his opponents, refused to comment on the results. Panthic Dewa Dal’s convener Avtar Singh couldn’t be contacted.
Akal Sahai Welfare Society founded by former Akal Takht jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh that contested 11 seats for the first time, won from two wards.
Director, gurdwara election, Shurbir Singh, said the committee would start functioning in a month’s time as three weeks time was to be given to 46 elected members to co-opt and nominate two members each. Other than this, a representative of Amritsar based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and four of five high priests are inducted into the committee as ex-officio members.