Harjinder Singh Dhami is new SGPC president

Dhami secured 122 votes against his opponent Mithu Singh Kahneke, a member of SGPC from Mansa who polled just 19 votes

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 29

Harjinder Singh Dhami, honorary chief secretary of Shiromani Gurdawara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), was on Monday elected as its president for one-year term during a general house meeting held at Teja Singh Samundari Hall in SGPC complex here.

Chaos-like situation disrupted the House proceedings for a while by some Opposition members. In the absence of consensus over the name of president, general secretary and ‘adjusting’ two members in the 11-member executive, the voting process was adopted in which 142 members participated.

Harjinder Singh Dhami.

Giving convincing defeat, Dhami secured 122 votes against his opponent Mithu Singh Kahneke, a member of SGPC from Mansa who polled just 19 votes. One vote was declared invalid. A year back, Kahneke had already resigned from primary membership of SAD due to his differences over the panthic and Punjab related issues.

For general secretary’s post, Karnail Singh Panjoli was declared elected after he was polled 112 votes against his rival Gurpreet Singh who got just 21 votes. Here also, one vote was cancelled. Several members had left in the middle of the House proceedings, by then.

Raghuvir Singh Virk and Principal Surinder Singh were elected unanimously as senior vice president and junior vice president, respectively.

Nonetheless, advocate Dhami, a law graduate has been an SGPC member from Hoshiarpur since 1996. He is known for his good administrative skills.

Born on August 28, 1956, Dhami has attained proficiency in religious and legal affairs. He also served as SGPC general secretary during the 2019 tenure.

After paying obeisance at the Golden Temple and the Akal Takht, Dhami said strengthening the SGPC’s campaign named as “Ghar Ghar Andar Dharamsaal” to curb conversion of Sikhs would be his main priority, besides revamping the education and health services being provided by the Sikh body.

Soon after Dhami replaced Bibi Jagir Kaur, the SAD announced the latter as its candidate from Bholath Assembly constituency. She had represented the Bholath constituency thrice from 1997, 2002 and 2012 as an MLA.

If the SGPC general elections would be conducted next year, as was being speculated, this was the last presidential poll tenure of the current general house.

As per Gurdwara Act 1925, the SGPC body has to be revamped every year by electing its president, senior vice president, junior vice president, general secretary and 11-member executive body, unanimously during the general house or through voting, if necessary.

The House comprises a total of 191 members out of which 170 are elected through ballot papers. The 15 co-opted members include five Takht Jathedars and Golden Temple head granthi, have no voting rights.

At present, the House consists of 165 members in addition to 15 co-opted members. As many as 23 members have died, while the two -- Sucha Singh Langah and Sharanjit Singh -- had already resigned from the membership.

The 11-member executive included Surjit Singh Kang, Sarwan Singh Klar, Surjit Singh Garhi, Jarnail Singh Dogranwala, Balwinder Singh Weipui, Harjap Singh Sultanwind, Gurdinderpal Singh Gora, Amarjit Singh Bandala, Bibi Gurpreet Kaur, Jodh Singh Samra and Gurpreet Singh.

Bibi Jagir Kaur conducted the stage proceedings till appointment of Dhami. Prominent among those were present on the occasion included Golden Temple’s head preiest Giani Jagtar Singh, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh, Takht Patna Sahib Jathedar Giani Ranjit Singh Gohar-e-Maskeen.

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