Badal, Sheila fight begins: 42% vote in gurdwara polls

The polling process for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) ended on Sunday.

In the high-stakes elections, in which the Badals of Punjab hoping to unseat Congress-backed Paramjit Singh Sarna, witnessed a low polling percentage at 42.28. The gurdwara elections are being seen as crucial with the Assembly polls for Delhi scheduled for the end of the year.

Counting will be held on January 30, officials said.

The otherwise peaceful polls were marred by the death of Harjit Singh (52), a polling agent for Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), in Punjabi Bagh in West Delhi. Functionaries from SAD (Badal) claimed Harjit was "manhandled" by their rivals, but the SAD (Delhi) claimed none of their party workers were present in the area.

Director of Gurdwara Elections G P Singh said no formal complaint had been registered with the Directorate of Gurdwara Elections (DGE). "Our returning officer and observer, who were present at the time, said there was a slight altercation between a woman voter and (Harjit) Singh and both left the polling station," G P Singh said.

According to director, police personnel stationed outside informed the DGE that Harjit collapsed suddenly and was declared dead on arrival at Sanjay Gandhi Hospital.

Later in the evening, Harjit's son Jaspreet Singh went to the Punjabi Bagh police station with a complaint stating that "Parminder Singh Anand, Harpal Singh Sarna and their associates assaulted (his) father which led to his death".

Police have accepted the complaint and are inquiring into the matter. The body has been sent for post-mortem examination.

DGE records show that when voting closed at 5 pm, 4.12 lakh voters exercised their franchise. "It is a matter of pride that there were more women voters. For this election, there were 549 polling stations in 40 wards. Highest polling was recorded in Sahibpura, while Paharganj witnessed the lowest polling," G P Singh said.

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