CHANDIGARH, Punjab—During a debate conducted by Zee TV on April 13, between Bhai Gurdeep Singh Bathinda of United Akali Dal and Manjit Singh Rai of BJP, the two leaders argued about the pros and cons of the Sarbat Khalsa taking place later this year. Zee TV also conducted a poll during its 1 hour segment dedicated to Sarbat Khalsa, in which 87% of the people polled said they were in favour of Sarbat Khalsa taking place again later this year.
Bhai Gurdeep Singh Bathinda was asked that if the Sarbat Khalsa is actually a gathering of the entire Panth, then why didn’t they get 100% of the votes. He responded, “It’s always hard to get the entire population to agree to something. Even at the times of the Guru Sahibaan, there were debates on certain things. We are trying our best to get as many organizations to support Sarbat Khalsa this year as possible.”
“Our main goal this year will be to follow the actual code for Sarbat Khalsa and to make a procedure for the appointment or removal of the Jathedars. We know many organizations were not entirely happy with the organizers, but we tried our best to do what we could in the limited amount of time,” he added.
BJP leader Manjit Singh Rai had argued that the Sarbat Khalsa could only be called if there was a major issue troubling the Panth. “Punjab is currently peaceful, there are no major issues at present,” Rai argued. In response, Bhai Bathinda said that last year, Sarbat Khalsa had to be called because of the growing cases of sacrilege and the pardon given to the Sirsa cult leader by the Jathedars. “Traditionally, the Sarbat Khalsa was called on regular basis, so it is a routine gathering of the Sikhs and no Government should interfere in it,” Bhai Bathinda said.
The Sarbat Khalsa will take place on November 10, 2016 at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib. The announcement was made by certain Panthik organizations during a Vaisakhi conference at Talwandi Sabo. The organizers now face a major challenge, which is that of uniting all the Jathebandis who had previously supported the initiative. In addition, they would have to seek the support of organizations that remained absent due to internal differences within the organizers.