Sikh bodies like former Jathedar of Akal Takht Bhai Ranjit Singh led Panthic Akali Lehar (PAL) former Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib Giani Kewal Singh led Panthic Talmel Sangathan (PTS), Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala led Sikh Sadbhavana Dal (SSD) and Paramjit Singh Ranu led Sehajdhari Sikh Party (SSP) are the main organizations which have been publicly criticized the Badals for allegedly using the SGPC’s platform for their political motives.
The SSD, which had begun a ‘morcha’ near Golden Temple about 22 months ago, is still demanding justice in the case of 328 Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) which had gone ‘missing’ from the SGPC, is slowly gathering support from people of all walks of life. Without taking the name of former SAD(B) government minister and former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur, SSD chief Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala questioned how could one expect an independent status of SGPC if its president was not only a SAD(B) member but one of its former minister.
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Bhai Kewal Singh of PTS, a conglomerate of as many as 150 various Sikh bodies spread across Punjab, has already announced to contest the SGPC elections aiming to topple the present regime and bring back ‘Sikhs’ in power to take decisions about their religious affairs.
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Dr Amarbir Singh, a senior functionary of PTS, says they are holding district-level meetings following which they would announce their future programme. Amarbir also pointed to the procedure adopted during the appointments of Jathedar’s of Takht’s, adding that under the present circumstances, the Jathedars were only answerable to their appointing authority due to which they have failed to perform.
Bhai Ranjit Singh, currently on tour to the European nations to garner support for his PAL, alleged that under influence of one political party, the SGPC had deviated from performing its duties including the most important one – propagation of Sikhism. “That is the reason why many Sikhs were converting to Christianity”, adding that there was a need to overhaul the whole system else it would reach Nadir.
SAD(B) acts as a sword arm of SGPC and provides it political strength and in return the party also takes political benefit through its platforms. Paramjit Singh Ranu said that SSP had also begun preparations for the SGPC elections and was holding meetings across the state.
Notably, the SGPC has 175 elected members while 15 are co-opted including five Jathedars of Takht’s making general house of a total of 190 members. Last elections of the Sikh body were held in 2011, wherein SAD (B) had won the majority seats and had a total of 182 members including elected and nominated. According to Ranu, the interim stay in a case pending in the Supreme Court with regards to Haryana Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is the reason for the delay in the SGPC elections.