In accordance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) tradition, its chief -- deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal -- will select the next president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) from among the SGPC members belonging to the party here on Saturday.
Around 160 of the 170 elected members in the SGPC House of 190 members are aligned with the SAD. The ruling party also has the support of all 15 co-opted members.
During a closed-door meeting at Teja Singh Samundri Hall here on Friday, SGPC members belonging to the Akali Dal decided unanimously to give the party president the sole right of choosing the next SGPC president and other office-bearers (for a one-year term in accordance with the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925), said SAD general secretary and minister Daljit Singh Cheema. Around 130 members attended the meeting.
The SAD chief, who was present at the meeting, assured the members that he would name a “person with a clean image”, while keeping their aspirations in mind. He also had one-on-one meetings with some SGPC members to solicit their views, on the eve of the SGPC House meeting.
In the race
The names doing the rounds for the top SGPC post are those of current chief Avtar Singh Makkar, former chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, senior Akali leaders and former ministers Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Sucha Singh Langah, and Dirba MLA Sant Balbir Singh Ghunas.
Sukhbir’s decision will remain suspense till the General House meets at 11am on Saturday. According to the tradition, a senior SGPC member is expected to open the sealed envelope containing the name of the next president.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed from reliable sources that Tarn Taran deputy commissioner (DC) Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal will assume additional charge of Amritsar -- from Varun Roojam -- and preside over the SGPC House meeting. As per convention, only a Sikh officer can preside over the first meeting of the new SGPC House.
HC allows jailed Dal Khalsa leader to attend meet
Hours after being denied conditional bail by a Jalandhar court, SGPC member Kulbir Singh Barapind, who is associated with the Sikh radical outfit Dal Khalsa, got special permission from the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday to attend the General House meeting of the apex gurdwara body on Saturday. Barapind, who is SGPC member from Phillaur, is facing murder charge and is presently lodged at the Kapurthala model jail.