Seven parties are in the fray in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) general elections which are scheduled to be conducted on April 25, as per the notification issued by the Directorate of Gurdwara Elections, Government of Delhi, on Tuesday.
Wednesday remained an important day for the DSGMC polls, when the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) which has been ruling over the top Sikh institutions including Akal Takht Sahib, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) for the last two and half decades, was disqualified from the general polls of the DSGMC by the Directorate. Hours after, the Delhi High Court gave it respite and ordered a stay on the disqualification.
In case of disqualification, the SAD (Badal) was not able to contest one election symbol ‘bucket’. With the High Court ruling, the symbol was restored. Disqualification of the party from the elections was held on the ground that “this party is not a religious, but a political party” that is not allowed to contest the religious elections, as per rules and regulations of the Delhi government.
Besides the SAD (Badal), former DSGPC president Manjit Singh GK-led JAGO (Jag Aasra Guru Ott), former president Parmjit Singh Sarna-led Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi, former Akal Takht Sahib jathedar-led Bhai Ranjit Singh-led Panthik Akali Lehar, former Sri Darbar Sahib Hazoori Ragi Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala-led Sikh Sadbhawna Dal and Aam Akali Dal are in the contest.
Delhi High Court’s noted lawyer HS Phoolka said, “We initiated a drive to keep the political parties away from the management of the gurdwaras as these parties are misusing the gurdwaras for their political and business ends. We want to expel politics from our gurdwaras. Disqualification of Badal Dal was a great success we have achieved in this drive, but the court reversed it. However, our fight for the cause will continue.”
The SAD (B) was disqualified after a writ petition was filed by Aam Akali Dal leader Gurwinder Singh Saini in the High Court to challenge the participation of the political parties in the gurdwara elections. Such attempts were also made in the past several times but to no avail.
Phoolka further said, “The SAD (Badal) left no stone unturned to get respite from the High Court.”
As per the notification, the filing of the nomination papers will start on March 31 and April 7 will be the last date of the filing papers. Scrutiny of the nominations will be held on April 8, while the last date for withdrawal of the candidature is April 10. The date of counting of votes is April 28.