Victory of Simranjit Singh Mann has opened new dimensions in Panthic politics of state. His election as Sangrur MP is not only a serious challenge for the Shiromani Akali Dal Badal, which still controls Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Commitee, but it will also pressurise Aam Adami Party (AAP) government in state to deliver on the issues like sacrilege and Sikh prisoners.
Despite being in alliance with BJP, the SGPC, which is allegedly run by SAD, allowed Damdami Taksal to build gurdwara Yadgar Shahidan, a memorial for Operation Blue star, inside premises of Harmandir Sahib in 2013. Though there was always outcry from the anti-Badal Sikh bodies about the alleged misuse of SGPC and its mismanagement by SAD, party started loosing its control over the Sikh issues after sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib took place in Bargari town of district Faridkot in 2015 followed by the death of two Sikhs in police firing in Behbal Kalan in the same district. SAD alliance with Dera Sacha Sauda also hurt the party. The SAD-BJP alliance also raised the allegations of RSS interfering in Sikh affairs.
Massive gathering at Sarbat Khalsa organised by anti-Badal Sikh bodies and parties, including SAD(A) in November 2015, was first assault on the monopoly of SAD on Panthic politics and the party has been struggling since then. While SAD accused Khalistanis for the trouble and its government even booked the organisers of Sarbat Khalsa, including Simranjit Mann for sedition. But it didn’t help it.
Even when Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government came to power in 2017, it failed to deliver on its promise of providing justice in sacrilege and police firing cases.
In run-up to 2022 Assembly polls, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, promised to get the masterminds of Bargari arrested in 24 hours if given a mandate, but it too failed to do much. Mann’s win comes as a balm to the sore Sikh sentiments as his party is all set to turn the heat on the AAP government for its alleged delay in providing justice in sacrilege cases. Mann’s victory will also further weaken SAD’s control SGPC.