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Makkar to be back as SGPC chief
Naveen S Garewal/TNS

Chandigarh, September 21
Avtar Singh Makkar is set to be the president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for the seventh time. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that swept the SGPC poll in alliance with the Sant Samaj has decided not to make any change at the top in the apex body of the Sikhs.

Highly placed sources told The Tribune that contrary to speculations about a change in the president of the SGPC, the party had decided to repeat Makkar who remained by and large acceptable and non-controversial even after serving the mini parliament of the Sikhs for six terms. This puts to an end the suspense over the change in guards.

Although the election results were declared on the day of the polling (September 18), the Gurdwara Election Commission (GEC) would officially notify these on Thursday. After the notification, the same would be conveyed to the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, who would then invite all elected members to the SGPC headquarters.

According to sources in the SAD, despite the victory of many stalwarts and past presidents in the recently held poll, there was never any serious thinking about a change. It was earlier stated that the possibility of Tota Singh, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Sucha Singh Langha, Kiranjot Kaur and Sewa Singh Sekhwan of heading the SGPC could not be ruled out.

As per the procedure laid down in the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, the first meeting of the SGPC will be presided over by the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, who will register all the newly elected members and constitute the general house of the SGPC. The Jathedars of the five Takhts and the Head Granthi of the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) would also be part of the general house as its ex-officio members.

The general house will have 191 members, including 170 members elected by Keshdhari voters and six ex-officio members. The remaining 15 members will be co-opted by the elected members before the election of the president.

Once the SAD leadership, led by its president, makes its opinion known to the newly elected members of the SGPC, it is expected that Makkar will be elected unopposed. The SAD leadership has in the past thrown up surprises while electing the president, but sources in the party said this time, the decision was left to the top echelons, who decided to give Makkar yet another go.

Makkar, a Badal family loyalist, hails from Ludhiana and is seen as an urban face of the Sikhs. After the last elections, SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal had promoted Makkar to counter the growing influence of pro-Congress Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee (DGMC) leader Paramjit Singh Sarna among urban Sikhs.





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