Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary: Punjab govt, SGPC move closer on holding joint functionUpdated: Sep 18, 2019 01:01 IST
The Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday moved closer on holding the joint function on November 12 at Sultanpur Lodhi to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary (Parkash Gurpurb) of Guru Nanak, after a weeks-long deadlock between the two sides over the issue.
Earlier, the Punjab government had not sent its nominees for the meeting of the coordination committee constituted by the gurdwara body on the directions of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs.
Even as a delegation led by SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal met CM Amarinder recently urging him to extend cooperation for the joint celebrations, the government had not sent its representative to attend the meetings the SGPC called twice as it the state wanted to hold a separate function.
But on Tuesday, jails and cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Amritsar district Congress (rural) president Bhagwantpal Singh Sachar attended the meeting as government representatives. Amarinder deputed Sachar as the second nominee in place of cabinet minister Charanjit Singh Channi who is abroad these days, said Randhawa.
The meeting that lasted for around one-and-a-half hours in the presence of Longowal was attended by former SGPC president Jagir Kaur and incumbent member Tota Singh as the gurdwara body nominees. Jathedar Narang Singh represented the coordination committee’s fifth member Nihal Singh Hariyan Welan.
“Initially, the two sides had arguments on various issues as the government nominees raised doubts over the SGPC’s working. Their main contention was the SGPC is functioning at the behest of the Badals. After the SGPC office-bearers assured to keep the SAD politicians out of limelight at the event, the discussion took a positive turn. The both sides realised that holding separate functions will send a wrong message to the world and create confusion among those participating in the celebrations,” said a person who attended the meeting.
Even Randhawa hinted after the meeting that many differences had been ironed out.
During the course of discussion, the government nominees talked to Amarinder over phone from a separate room and the CM gave a go-ahead to reach a consensus on the matter, it was learnt. Finally, it was decided a formal announcement in this regard will be made by the CM after both the nominees apprise him about the meeting.
The two sides held a joint media briefing.
Another meeting is likely to be held on the issue.
“The meeting was held in a cordial manner. All were of the view that the historic day should be celebrated jointly”, said Longowal, thanking the CM for a positive response.
Randhawa said, “After meeting the CM, we will hold another meeting with the SGPC to share the government’s view. The government will not indulge in any politics on the auspicious occasion.”
“We are happy that the Punjab CM sent his nominees,” said Jagir Kaur.
First Published: Sep 18, 2019 01:01 IST