Poll high leaves Sukhbir a winner

With SAD (Badal) sweeping the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections, the position of party president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has only become stronger in Sikh politics.

After SGPC, which controls all gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, DSGMC is the second most powerful Sikh body in the country. This is the second time that SAD has taken control of DSGMC — they had won the elections for the first time in 1997.

On the other hand, SAD (Delhi) has not only been just wiped out, but its president Paramjit Singh Sarna — who had been heading the DSGMC since 2002 — had himself lost the election.

According to the results, SAD had got a two-third majority in the General House of the DSGMC. Out of results declared for 45 seats, SAD won 37 seats and DAD only seven. In the outgoing house, Akalis had only 12 seats.

Sarna's proximity to the Congress was once again proved in the run-up to the polls when Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh addressed rallies in his constituency of Punjabi Bagh. Amarinder's wife and Union Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur also addressed rallies.

Sarna was defeated by Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the Youth Akali Dal Delhi unit president. Punjab Youth Akali Dal president Bikram Singh Majitha had campaigned for him.

In the run-up to the polls, with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal camping in Delhi along with his entire cabinet, chief parliamentary secretaries, MLAs and senior party leaders, it was Sukhbir who commanded from the front and planned the

campaign.

The SAD (Badal) made the non-implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar by the Sarna-controlled DSGMC an issue in the polls. With the amended calendar being cleared by the Akal Takht, the Akalis had attacked Sarna for violating the Akal Takht directive and thereby, dividing the community.

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