‘SGPC polls not possible during this year’

Chandigarh, May 28 (IANS) The elections to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikh religion, are not possible this year or even by early 2011, an official Friday said.

Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara elections, Justice (retd.) H.S.Brar said that final preparation and publication of electoral rolls will be completed by November this year and after that, it would take a few more months for the actual elections.

‘We are starting the registration of voters June 1 and it would continue till July 15. After this, there are many things like preparation of rolls, filing of claims and objections, disposal of objections, and after covering all these stages, the final publication of electoral rolls will be on Nov 9 this year,’ he told reporters here.

‘After Nov 9, it would normally take two to three months for the actual conduct of SGPC elections. Moreover, it all depends on the discretion of central government and they have to decide the final date of election. There is always a possibility that we might have to wait for a longer period for elections,’ Justice Brar added.

The SGPC, headquartered at the holiest Sikh shrine Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, manages all the big gurdwaras and has an annual budget of Rs.4.5 billion. It is dominated by Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal, which has accused the central government of delaying the elections.

Brar said at present the SGPC has 170 elected members – 120 from general category, 30 seats reserved for women and 20 for the Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates. Another 15 members are nominated by the SGPC itself. The head priest of Darbar Sahib in Amritsar and heads of five Sikh takhts are also members.

‘This time, we have 110 constituencies in Punjab, from where we would get 157 elected members, eight constituencies in Haryana, and one each in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. During the last SGPC elections, over 52 lakh voters had cast their votes,’ Brar said.