Chandigarh: In what seemed a Badals versus Bibi Jagir Kaur contest within Cognito support by the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP (as Akalis alleged from time to time), to wrest the control of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), Badals won the battle. Their candidate Harjinder Singh Dhami polled 104 votes while Bibi Jagir Kaur polled 42 votes. Dhami is the sitting president of the SGPC.
Bibi Jagir Kaur may not have posed any real challenge but the opposition candidate polled almost double the number of votes it polled last time around. In these polls, Bibi Jagir Kaur was mostly supported by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (the SAD Samyukt supremo), ex-MLA Balvir Singh Ghunas, and SGPC member Baldev Singh Chunga. Sources said members belonging to Haryana and who have been rallying behind the BJP may have voted for Bibi Jagir Kaur.
Former education minister Daljit Singh Cheema said, “There were many willing to make ingresses into the SGPC, most notably BJP through its government in Haryana, and the Centre, and even the Punjab government left no stone unturned. Yet our candidate Harjinder Singh Dhami prevailed over Bibi Jagir Kaur.”
Senior Akali leader Virsa Singh Valtoha said,” BJP is the most powerful party and it can swing any elections. Tacit presence of the BJP was obviously there.”
However responding to it Dhindsa said, “They are pointing a finger at Iqbal Singh Lalpura. He may have called a voter or two, but BJP wasn’t involved in this at all. Who is there in Punjab BJP to call the shots? It is a frivolous charge. They should look at the results. We have gone up from 22 to 42. Had BJP been part of it, you know what it is capable of.” Iqbal Singh Lalpura is the chairman of the National Commission of Minorities.
According to the sources, backing Jagir Kaur throughout her endeavour was Dhindsa who was vocally convincing the voters that this was the chance to free the SGPC from the clutches of Badals whose role in the Bargari sacrilege and other anti-Sikh related episodes was under scanner.
The SGPC election was held to elect the president, general secretary, senior vice-president and 11-member executive committee. There are a total of 191 members (170 are elected by the Sikh voters, 15 are co-opted and six are sitting heads of the temporal seats and the head granthi of the Golden Temple). Out of these, 26 have died while two of them have resigned. The remaining number of members now left is 157.
Six temporal heads and head granthi are also part of the general house but they do not have a right to vote.