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Haryana State Cong takes up HSGPC issue with Rahul

With the Lok Sabha elections approaching, the state Congress leadership is again gearing up to put the issue of formation of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HSGPC) on the front burner.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2014 20:34 IST
Vishal Joshi
Vishal Joshi
Hindustan Times
Lok Sabha elections,state Congress leadership,Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee

With the Lok Sabha elections approaching, the state Congress leadership is again gearing up to put the issue of formation of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HSGPC) on the front burner.

The lone official delegate from the minority community in the Congress from Haryana on Monday raised the long-pending issue of a separate Sikh panel with the party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Tarlochan Singh, the official spokesman of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that he apprised Gandhi and other top Congress leaders present at a meeting of select persons, that the inordinate delay in constituting a separate Sikh body had hurt the feelings of the community in Haryana.

On Monday, the Congress leadership held a meeting with 200-odd representatives of the minority groups from various states to seek the views and demands of minorities at the grassroots level for inclusion in the party's poll document for the Lok Sabha polls.

At a political rally at Hisar on December 1, the chief ministerial candidate of the Haryana Janhit Congress-Bharatiya Janata Party combine, Kuldeep Bishnoi had tried to woo Sikhs by assuring to form HSGPC, if he is voted to power in the 2014 assembly elections.

Agitated over the delay in announcing the Sikh panel, two ad-hoc factions of the HSGPC led by Didar Singh Nalwi and Jagdish Singh Jhinda have also announced to field their candidates in the next assembly elections.

Meanwhile, in his letter to Rahul Gandhi, the party spokesman said the Congress had put the formation of HSGPC in the official election manifesto in the 2005 assembly elections but the matter was still pending.

"I categorically told Gandhi that chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is keen to the form a separate body but in the absence of a nod from the party's central leadership, the matter is held up. It is long time and the central leadership should look into the matter positively," said Singh.

He asked that states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Bihar, etc., had independent bodies to maintain the shrines then why only Haryana was deprived of it.

However, he defended before the party high command that Haryana had accorded the second official language status to Punjabi, announced a minority commission and saved several Sikh families from displacement in a land dispute in Kurukshetra district.

According to Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, Haryana was entitled to get an independent body to manage Sikh shrines in the state, but it was never implemented.

Singh said the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had become a political organ of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

However, the Sikh leaders fighting for the HSGPC termed the meeting as eyewash. Terming it as a political stunt to woo the Sikh voters, Nalwi and Jhinda said the Congress would be defeated in the coming elections for not keeping its promises.

"Once again the Congress leadership wants to befool the Sikh community. But this time we will expose the Congress that it uses Sikhs only as vote-bank and does not protect their legitimate rights," said Nalwi, who had recently floated Haryana Jan Shakti Morcha, a political outfit.

Alleging that the Hooda government was anti-Sikh, Nalwi said museums at Badh Khalsa in Sonepat and another at Kapal Mochan, Yamunanagar, were associated with the ninth and tenth Sikh gurus, respectively, but the spots were subjected to gross neglect.

Jhinda said it was unfortunate that even after being in power for 10 years at the Centre and in Haryana, the Congress leadership was still busy deliberating on the issues pertaining to the minority communities.

First Published: Dec 24, 2013 20:03 IST