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Makkar is SGPC chief again
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 25
Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar was re-elected president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) here today. He defeated rebel Akali candidate Gurwinder Singh Shampura by 104 votes.

The SGPC had deployed a strong posse of its task force at the poll venue to prevent any untoward incident. There was an apprehension that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, SAD (Amritsar), who was present at the Golden Temple, might try to come to the venue of the annual poll.

The Panthic Front that succeeded in winning over Mr Gurwinder Singh Shampura, a senior SGPC member of the Badal faction, to contest as a rebel candidate for the post against the official nominee had to eat a humble pie as he got only 35 votes. Mr Avtar Singh got 139 votes.

Taking a prompt action, Mr Badal expelled Mr Shampura from the primary membership of the party for six years. He announced that “indiscipline” won’t be tolerated in the party.

It was after half a century that Mr Avtar Singh, an urban Sikh, who was considered a greenhorn in Sikh politics, became the 40th president of the SGPC last year, with a voice vote. Though he remained embroiled in various controversies during his one-year tenure, he was re-elected to the post for making inroads into the urban vote bank during the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta described the floor crossing by five SGPC members of the Badal faction to the Panthic Morcha as a “moral defeat” of the SAD supremo.

Mr Harwinder Singh New Delhi, Mr Onkar Singh Sharifpura, Mr Malkit Singh Nagpur and Mr Shampura himself were among those who voted in favour of the rebel candidate at the time of secret voting.

Mr Raghuvir Singh Virk, Mr Kewal Singh Badal and Mr Sukhdev Singh have been elected senior vice-president, vice-president and general secretary of the committee, respectively.

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