Akalis claim clean sweep in SGPC polls
Chandigarh: The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Monday claimed a clean sweep in the 170-member general house of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-Parliament of Sikh religious affairs.
Senior party leaders said its candidates won 157 out of the 170 seats on which polling was held Sunday in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
The results to the SGPC general house will officially be announced Thursday by the Gurdwara Election Commission here.
Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also Punjab deputy chief minister, said the results had clearly shown that the electorate favoured the Akali Dal policies.
"We will continue this victory campaign in next year's assembly election also," Badal said here.
Akali Dal secretary and spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said that SAD-Sant Samaj (a group of Sikh religious organisations) combine candidates have won their seats with comfortable margins.
"The results have proved that Sikh masses have completely rejected the Congress-led so called Panthic Morcha and reposed full faith in the policies and programmes of the SAD," Cheema said here.
He further said the massive mandate has taught a lesson to the Congress to refrain from meddling in the internal affairs of Sikhs.
The Akali Dal leader said the SGPC election was a clear indicator of the victory in store for the Akali Dal in the assembly elections scheduled in Punjab February-March next year.
Incidents of violence were reported from different parts of Punjab Sunday even as nearly 63 percent of the electorate turned out to cast their franchise.
The Akali Dal, which had 140 seats in the earlier SGPC general house, has romped home with greater majority this time.
The Congress officially did not contest the elections even though Akali Dal leaders say the party backed the opposition Panthic Morcha candidates.
In neighbouring Haryana, the Akali Dal candidates faired better this time with Haryana SGPC ad hoc president Jagdish Singh Jhinda losing his seat in Karnal.
Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Amarinder Singh lashed out at the Akali Dal saying the party had used brutal force and let loose a reign of terror in recent days to win the SGPC election. He sought an apology from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal for the violence during the elections.