The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is looking for a person with strong panthic credentials to head the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which is likely to hold office-bearers’ election on November 5.
“The party is looking for a candidate who could handle panthic and political issues with ease even if the SAD does not come back to power in the 2017 assembly polls,” said a party insider.
A close aide of SAD president Sukhbir Badal said the party brass has also held discussions on some “not-so-familiar” faces for the top post.
Avtar Singh Makkar, who is about to complete 10 years as the SGPC chief, is unlikely to get another shot, it has been learnt.
Makkar lost favour with the top Akali leadership since he failed to handle the situation following a series of incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib last year.
Former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan tops the list of candidates, with party leaders having discussed his name at different forums.
Sekhwan is also willing to contest the assembly polls from the Kahnuwan constituency and he cannot go for both.
The SAD that controls the SGPC — also called the mini-parliament of Sikhs — does not want to take any chance as the body can help it garner huge electoral support for the high-stake assembly polls scheduled early next year.
Former SGPC presidents Kirpal Singh Badungar and Bibi Jagir Kaur are also staking their claim, but they might not fit into the scheme of things.
While Bibi has been convicted for killing her daughter and is presently out on bail, Badungar is not seen as a preferred candidate. Dyal Singh Kolianwali, who holds a key position in Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal’s Lambi constituency, is also making bid for the post.
SGPC general secretary and one-time Tohra confidante, Karnail Singh Panjoli, who played a role in managing things for the SAD during the panthic upheaval, is also in the race.