Before going to 2017 assembly polls with the baggage of 10 years of anti-incumbency, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) may have a daunting task on hand – that of resurrecting the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). After the Supreme Court recently reinstated the SGPC house elected in 2011, paving way for election to its executive committee, sources told The Indian Express that a near-total revamp of its 15-member executive committee is on the cards now.
In the fray for SGPC president’s post are former cabinet minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and former SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar. Another contender is the former SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, who is the first woman to have held the post. Kaur is out on bail after her conviction in 2012 for of forcible abortion, wrongful confinement and kidnapping in her daughter Harpreet Kaur’s murder case.
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The executive headed by president, as per norms, is chosen by the general house of SGPC. However, it is an open secret that the SGPC president as well as the executive should have the stamp of Chief Minister and SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and deputy Chief Minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal. Avtar Singh Makkar, who had been SGPC president since 2005, is most probably on his way out with the Badals, especially Sukhbir, unhappy with his functioning vis-a-vis incidents of desecration, controversial pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and its revocation.
The five Sikh beloveds (Panj Pyaras) appointed by the SGPC, who went on to summon Sikh clerics on the issue of controversial pardon to dera chief, were also locked in confrontation with SGPC. Before the Supreme Court’s order, Makkar was enjoying a sort of immunity as he was a court appointee. As soon as the Supreme Court cleared decks for election of the SGPC executive committee, Badal wasted no time and the issue was soon discussed in a core committee meeting of SAD.