Badals sweep Delhi gurdwara elections, win 37 of 46 seats

The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), supported by the BJP, swept the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) elections, winning 37 of the 46 constituencies. After a decade of watching from the sidelines, the SAD (Badal) wrested control of the powerful Sikh body from the SAD (Delhi), which managed a meagre tally of eight seats.

The shift in power could be a matter of concern for the Congress-led Delhi government, which will be facing the Assembly polls later this year.

The scale of the SAD (Delhi) loss was evident after DSGMC president and SAD (Delhi) chief Paramjit Singh Sarna lost by the highest margin against Manjinder Singh Sirsa from the SAD (Badal). Director of Gurdwara Elections G P Singh said the margin of defeat was 4,454 votes. "Sarna garnered 4,552 votes against Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who won 9,006 votes. This is the highest victory margin in this election," Singh added.

Manjit Singh, who is expected to be the next DSGMC chief, won from Greater Kailash against Gurpreet Singh.

At the end of counting on Wednesday, SAD (Badal) secured 37 seats, SAD (Delhi) eight seats and Congress MLA Tarvinder Singh Marwah won his constituency under the Kendriya Guru Singh Sabha. A total of 265 candidates were in the fray for 46 seats of the DSGMC.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had little to say on Wednesday's outcome. "This is a religious election and we are not involved — neither as the government nor as a party in the polling process. It was our duty to conduct free and fair elections, which we have achieved," she said. Parliamentary Secretary Mukesh Sharma said the Congress had not stopped Marwah from contesting the Gurdwara polls, as he did not contest under any party symbol.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was in Delhi, thanked the voters and members of the community for the victory. He also reiterated his resolve to fulfill every promise made in the manifesto. He said this election was a reminder to the Sarnas that those who betrayed the Sikh community, by hob-knobbing with the Congress, would be "severely punished".

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