The book release function of the former SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar in Ludhiana Saturday was skipped by the current SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar and Akal Takht jathedar Gurbachan Singh. Makkar claimed that he had ‘personally invited’ both of them and there is ‘no tussle’. However, he also said that ‘he is unaware of reasons why Badungar did not turn up.’ “I received a message from Akal Takht jathedar. He said that his wife is unwell. However, I am unaware why Badungar did not come. He must be knowing the reason better than me. I had personally invited them both,” said Makkar to The Indian Express.
Makkar said that he never played any politics or favored any political party. “I never played any politics or joined any party. I never favored any party during my tenure. After my tenure as SGPC president, I am living my life like a common man and do not attend any political events so there is no question of tussle with anyone,” he said. However, sources privy to Makkar told The Indian Express, “It was obvious that Badungar won’t attend this event as book is entirely on achievements of Makkar as SGPC president.” A compilation of articles published on his life and work by different writers, the Punjabi book ‘Jathedar Avtar Singh: Shakhs Tey Shaksiyat’ was launched at Punjabi Bhawan of Ludhiana Saturday. The book has been compiled by a panel of editors.
Attended by various Sikh scholars and politicians, the book release event stirred a hornet’s nest as the leaders close to Makkar and Badals revealed many undisclosed things about the SAD-BJP regime. They also spoke about SAD’s close ties with Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandak Committee (SGPC) and how the Sikh gurudwara body always played a crucial role in SAD’s victory.
Maheshinder Singh Grewal, senior SAD leader, said in Sikhism, it is not possible to separate religion and politics. “Religion and politics cannot be separated in Sikhism. We can only maintain a fine line while dealing with issues in both,” he said. Baljit Singh Brar, an editor of a vernacular, quoting former CM Parkash Singh Badal said, “Badal saab had also said that had we not won SGPC polls, it wasn’t possible to win state assembly polls too.”
Balkar Singh, former director of Tohra Sikh institute who was appointed by Makkar during his tenure and then removed, said, “I had sent a general suggestion to Badungar that we should start a tradition of honoring ex-SGPC presidents and make transition cordial. Little I knew that I will get my own removal orders after a few days.”