Controversy, ugly scenes mar DSGMC elections

Voting stopped at Rakab Ganj Gurdwara in morning; repeated attempts to arrive at compromise or consensus on carrying forward the voting failed till evening

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 22

Elections to the posts of president and office-bearers of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) were marred by multiple controversies and ugly scenes on Saturday.

Chaos during the DSGMC elections at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj in New Delhi on Saturday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

This morning at Rakab Ganj Gurdwara, the voting was stopped within minutes and repeated attempts to arrive at a compromise or a consensus on carrying forward the voting, had failed till late evening.

Sukhbir Singh Kalra – who is one 51 DSGMC members eligible to vote—cast his secret ballot, but after allegedly showing it publicly. This was objected too by the Sarna brothers – Paramjit and Harvinder – along with former DSGMC president Manjit Singh GK.

They sought that the vote be declared ‘invalid’. However, the same was not accepted by the pro-term chairman Gurdev Singh.

Attempts by the group led by Harmeet Singh Kalka to hold a poll by raising hands were not accepted as the Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1971 has a provision only for a ‘secret ballot’.

The other controversy was over the vote of Jasbir Singh Jassi. He has, so far, not proved his proficiency in Punjabi language. His vote was kept in a sealed cover and a decision will be made by a court. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act mandates an elected member of the DSGMC must be proficient in Gurmukhi.

After the DSGMC House is elected by the Sikh community, the Directorate of Gurdwara Elections conducts a written exam to check the ability of an elected member to write and read Gurmukhi.

Harinder Pal Singh, a former member of the DSGMC executive council, questioned the move to conduct such an exam after the elections to the House. “This exam should be conducted when nominations are filed by candidates. What is the use of such an exercise after elections,” he suggested.

Meanwhile, last night the Shiromani Akali Dal seemed to overcome its internal strife to put up a united front in the DSGMC polls.

The Akali Dal has 30 members in the House that has 51 voting members. The House has 55 members; the four don’t caste votes as they are nominated.

The Sarna brother and Manjit GK group has 21 members.

The Akali Dal was facing a kind of split with some members, loyalists of former DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa, wanted to form a splinter group. Last month, Sirsa quit the Akali Dal and opted out as of president of the DSGMC to join the BJP. Some of those threatening to form a splinter group could be accommodated on key positions.

#DSGMCPoll #ManjinderSirsa #RakabGanjGurdwara #Sikh

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