Vancouver: A large group of Sikh members in the Canadian province of British Columbia is quitting the Liberal Party of Canada, alleging the party has been "hijacked" by the World Sikh Organisation.
The Sikh members are protesting the nomination of a party candidate backed by the WSO.
"We think this Liberal Party's been hijacked by the WSO," said Rajinder Singh Bhela, a longtime Liberal and former general secretary of the Ross Street Temple, Vancouver's largest Sikh temple.
The protest by the members is an an embarrassing blow to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau in the general elections scheduled for 2015, CBC News reported yesterday.
"The Liberal Party, especially Justin, is in bed with extremist and fundamental groups. That's why I decided to leave the Liberal Party," said Kashmir Dhaliwal, ex-president of the powerful Khalsa Diwan Society, founded by Sikh pioneers in 1902.
The walkout was provoked by the party's selection of a WSO-backed candidate, Harjit Singh Sajjan, over a prominent businessman, Barj Dhahan.
Dhahan is a moderate ally of Ujjal Dosanjh, the previous Liberal MP.
Dhahan declined to discuss his reasons with CBC News, except to confirm that he withdrew reluctantly.