Monday, July 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Tohra returns as SGPC chief
Tribune News Service and agencies

Amritsar, July 27
Even as Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was elected as 26th President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) at an emergency meeting of the Executive Committee here today, Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar — both former President, and a number of pro-Badal SGPC members were absent.

The name of Mr Tohra for the presidentship of SGPC was proposed by Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, Senior Vice-President, which was seconded by Mr Gurbax Singh Purain and Mr Partap Singh Advocate. Mr Purain was a close confidant of Mr Tohra, while Mr Partap Singh had fled from the farm house of Mr Parkash Singh Badal at Balasar (Haryana) where pro-Badal SGPC members were accommodated during the crucial annual election to the SGPC in November last year.

Except for Mr Hardalbir Singh Shah (who is abroad) and Mr Bhupinder Singh Asand (he is in jail) all Executive members were present at the meeting. Interestingly, the same Executive had removed Mr Tohra unceremoniously in March, 1999, a month before tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa Panth.

Earlier, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal escorted Mr Tohra to the SGPC office before his formal election as the SGPC chief. Both Mr Badal and Mr Tohra garlanded each other before beginning of the meeting.

Even after effecting of unity between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra, the unity at grass roots level seems to be a distant dream. Except for few pro-Badal SGPC members, including Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate, most of the members of the General House did not turn up to congratulate Mr Tohra on his elevation to the coveted post.

Later, while talking to the press, Mr Tohra indicated that Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, could be appointed as Working President. For this, Mr Bhaur would first be nominated into the SGPC executive in place, vacated by Mr Tohra after his elevation to the post of President. Mr Tohra said that due to his ill-health he could not give much time to the SGPC.

Mr Tohra thanked the executive members who had expressed faith in him. He praised Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Badungar and Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, all former Presidents for rendering good jobs during their respective stints in the past. Mr Tohra said due to difference between SAD and Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (which stand disbanded for sake of unity) it was the Panth which suffered the most. However, there was jubilation all over after sinking of differences. He appealed to the Akalis to forget the past and open a new chapter of friendship. In a lighter vein, Mr Tohra said that he had suffered ‘lot of set-backs’ in the past and it was almighty which saved him.

Meanwhile, SAD President and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today claimed that after the unity between the factions, led by him and SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the Akali Dal had emerged as a more powerful political force in the state.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Badal said the unity had increased their strength and expressed confidence that his party would secure all 13 Lok Sabha seats from the state in the general elections due next year.

On the re-election of Mr Tohra to the post of the SGPC President today, Mr Badal said Mr Tohra was a respectable and experienced leader and he would lead the SGPC affairs appropriately.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |