New Delhi: Adjournment of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) elections have sparked a series of controversies over the ‘forces’ and their ‘intentions’ behind the decision and have also raised many an eyebrow over its independent status of the DSGMC.
The elections to DSGMC were scheduled to be held on April 25 but due to the sudden rise in COVID-19 cases, the Delhi government decided to postpone the elections and the new date is yet to be announced.
“We agreed with Delhi governments decision to postpone the elections due to rise in Covid 19 cases and we were informed that elections would be held within 7 to 10 days but later it was informed that elections would be held on July 18 but now our sources in the government say that the elections could further be postponed,” said DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna while talking to Zee news.
Out of a total of 46 DSGMC seats, sources informed that Congress-backed and Paramjit Singh Sarna-led SAD(D) would contest as many as 35 seats independently while it would have an alliance in as many as 7 seats. SAD(B) backed Manjinder Singh Sirsa is all set to contest on all the 46 seats while the former ‘mentor’ of Sirsa and presently president of Jag Aasra Guru Ott Manjit Singh GK could contest over two dozen seats.
Though the Sikh Sangat of Delhi will elect their representatives to manage the religious places, educational and medical institutions run by DSGMC there is more to it.
DSGMC manages 12 historical Gurdwara’s, 13 public schools, 4 government-aided schools and degree colleges each, 5 management colleges, 2 Bed colleges 1 polytechnic college, 1 ITI, and 1 engineering college.
“It is not just managing the religious affairs of Sikhs in Delhi and holding religious functions but DSGMC is a parallel power seat and its president enjoys immense powers and control the destinies of thousands of its employees,” said sources.
And like any other election process which exacerbates corruption, the process for the DSGMC elections is almost the same. But the postponement to hold the DSGMC elections is seen in context with the after-effects of results of the DSGMC election on Punjab’s assembly elections. If the ruling SAD(B) Sirsa group fetch a considerable number of seats in the DSGMC elections with a considerable majority the SAD(B) will get a chance to boast of its policies and religious tolerance in Delhi which could sway the mindset of Sikh voters during Punjab’s 2022 assemble elections and have an adverse impact on AAP’s prospects.
Amid confusion and allegations, the rumors are abound while the facts are at a premium. All the major Sikh parties contesting the elections are blaming each other for the postponement of DSGMC elections.
Normally the turnout of Sikh voters for the gurdwara body elections in Delhi is around 45 % but this year it is believed that if elections are held now the voter’s turnout could be around 25% because many of the Sikh voters who had suffered COVID-19 are advised to stick to their homes. “The lower turnout of Sikh voters will only benefit SAD (B) which is not in favor of AAP’s election forecast in Punjab elections” said sources.
SAD(D) had also leveled serious corruption charges on the present management of DSGMC and one of the supporters of Sarna had moved the court in response of which a Delhi court had prohibited Sirsa to travel out of the country. Even the Manjit Singh GK had come under criticism for corruption in DSGMC during his tenure.
Interestingly, the court of chief metropolitan magistrate ordered investigating authorities to ensure that the Sirsa who is Badal’s aide didn’t fly out after having allegedly sold off his properties “said Sarna.
Sarna also claimed that during his tenure as the president of the DSGMC imparting education and propagating Sikh Identity were their primary achievements besides other religious activities.
He said SAD (D) had also appealed to ‘Guru ki Sangat’ to immediately inform them or the police if they notice Sirsa carrying out any suspicious activity. “The golak thief and his gang must be brought to justice and delivered exemplary punishment per the law of the land,” Sarna said.
Retorting to Sarna’s allegations, Sirsa, on Saturday said he wondered at the acumen of a person who had been the president of DSGMC. “During our tenure, we have taken several historical decisions and brought DSGMC on the international map and this man is levering baseless accusation out of jealousy only” said Sirsa. He said he didn’t believe that Sarna had been the president of DSGMC given his balderdash.
Sirsa said he also wanted the DSGMC election to be held as soon as possible and the DSGMC had given the same in writing in the court.
Much more is at stake during the DSGMC elections. Going by the insiders’ anything around Rs 50 lakh expenditure could be incurred for the elections in every DSGMC constituency which means anything around Rs 20 crore to contest all the 46 seats.