Amid high drama in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) over the November 9 Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) polls, three-time SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur was expelled from the party on Monday.
As the party announced current SGPC president Advocate Harjinder Singh Dhami as its candidate, the decision did not go down well with Kaur, who refused to change her decision to contest the polls.
Kaur, who was the first woman president of the SGPC, had raised her voice against the “lifafa culture” and was adamant to be declared party’s candidate for the Sikh religious body.
In response, the candidature was declared five days before the elections, a breakaway from the tradition of declaring the candidate at the last minute.
Kaur challenged the party’s decision asking under which rule of the party constitution was she expelled even from primary membership of the party.
“How can those, who were ousted by the people of the state, throw me out? Shiromani Akali Dal is embodied in all followers of Sikhism all over the world and two-three people cannot oust me.”
Kaur’s ouster has given boost to the voices against Akali Dal’s control over the SGPC.
On the issue of exclusive Gurbani telecast rights to a channel owned by Badal family as well as a clean chit to Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim in the 2007 blasphemy case, Kaur had already launched a scathing attack on party president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Dhami. She said Dhami has defied Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh by not starting its own channel to broadcast Gurbani live from Sach Khand Shri Harmandir Sahib.
She said that the panthic, autonomous, independent status of the SGPC will be reinstated if she gets elected. She also promised a Sikh Heritage Commission to conserve religious buildings as well as bringing Gurdwara committees in Punjab, other states and abroad under the fold of the SGPC.
Amid the power play, Kaur has been gathering support from former Akali stalwart Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who had said whoever opposed the anti-Panthic policies of Sukhbir Singh Badal was thrown out of the party.
Another Sikh leader Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said Kaur only called for keeping dynasty rule out of the SGPC.
Congress leader Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said Kaur was not the first one to be treated this way. “Parkash Singh Badal ousted many senior Sikh leaders the same way for the sake of his family. Akali Dal is now speaking against the BJP with the help of which Badal came to power in the state many times,” he said.
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