Gurdwara committee polls slated for Sep 18

July 28th, 2011 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, July 28 (IANS) After a delay of many months, the union home ministry has given its go-ahead for holding on Sep 18 the elections to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that manages the religious affairs and shrines of Sikhs.

The ministry has notified Sep 18 for the SGPC polls, chief commissioner of gurdwara elections H.S. Brar said in a notification issued here Thursday.

The SGPC is referred to as the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs. The organisation, founded in 1920, has a budget of over Rs.500 crore and manages Sikh shrines in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, including the Amritsar-based holiest of Sikh shrines - Harmandar Sahib (popularly known as the Golden Temple).

The elections to the SGPC general house were last held in July 2004.

The SGPC general house is largely dominated by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab.

The Akali Dal had recently accused the Punjab Congress of putting pressure on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) central government to defer the elections.

Akali Dal secretary Daljit Singh Cheema said the Congress was doing so as it feared its imminent defeat in the SGPC polls at the hands the Akali Dal.

The SGPC elections are scheduled a few months ahead of the February-March Punjab assembly polls next year.

The control of gurdwaras and the finances make the SGPC a powerful organisation, especially among Sikh masses - the dominant community in Punjab.

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