Badal loyalist Harjinder Singh Dhami is new SGPC chief
Harjinder Singh Dhami, 65, a low-profile Akali leader from Hoshiarpur district, was on Monday elected president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), replacing Jagir Kaur at the helm.
Once again, the chief of the apex gurdwara body is from Punjab’s Doaba region. Dhami is the SGPC member from Sham Churasi segment and hails from Piplan Wala village in Hoshiarpur district. His predecessor belongs to Begowal town in Kapurthala district of Doaba region.
A Badal family loyalist, Dhami is a lawyer with a clean image as a religious and political leader. He has served the SGPC for the past 25 years. He is the Badal family’s legal counsel in a case of alleged forgery of the constitution of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Former chief minister and Akali patriarch Prakash Singh Badal was recently summoned by the court in this case.
Earlier, Dhami belonged to the camp of former SGPC chief, the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra.
On the eve of the annual poll session of the General House at the SGPC headquarters, Teja Singh Samundri Hall here, the gurdwara body members owing alligence to the SAD, which enjoys a majority in the House, had authorised party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal to choose the president and other office-bearers. He sent the names to the House on Monday for its formal approval.
Of the 162 SGPC members, 130 attended Monday’s session. Outgoing SGPC senior vice-president Surjit Singh Bhittewad proposed the name of Dhami for approval of the House, but members from the opposition, including Balwinder Singh Bains and Gurpreet Singh Randhawa, demanded polling with secret ballot by fielding their candidate, Mithu Singh Kahne Ke. Dhami secured 122 votes and was declared elected.