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Peaceful polling for three SGPC seats

By Our Staff Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, NOV. 7 . Low to medium turnout was reported at polling for three seats of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), where elections were not held with the general house earlier this year, pending a court case. Except for incidents of verbal altercation, at a few places, the voting passed off peacefully.

The polling was conducted amid tight security arrangements for the seats of Tarn Taran, Dhariwal and Gurdaspur. The elections for these seats had been withheld as candidates of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had petitioned the High Court against the ruling of the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) who as Returning Officers who had rejected the candidature of the SAD nominees on grounds that they had defaulted in clearing their dues to the SGPC.

High Court ruling

On directions of the High Court, which overruled the ROs, the polling was conducted under the supervision of the ADCs. The overall responsibility for the election lies with the Gurdwara Election Commission. While the counting was scheduled to start immediately after polling, the results are expected to come in late in the night.

As the results would not have any impact on the complexion of the General House of the SGPC, which recently elected Bibi Jagir Kaur as its President, the electorate remained apathetic. However, keen contests have been witnessed for the three seats, where SAD stalwarts are in the fray facing formidable challenge from the Panthic Morcha (PM), which is a conglomerate of Akali factions and Sikh organisations.

Keen contest

At Gurdaspur, Former Minister, Sewa Singh Sekhwan of the SAD, was locked in a direct contest with Amrik Singh Thikriwal of the Morcha. At Dhariwal, former Minister, Sucha Singh Langah, has been challenged by sitting MLA, Sucha Singh Chhotepur, who had defeated the former in the Assembly polls in 2002. However, the contest has been made interesting as the self-styled chief of the dreaded terrorist outfit, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, is in the fray. Zaffarwal had surrendered to the police about two years ago.

At Tarn Taran, Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, who officiated as president of the SGPC, after the death of the stalwart, G.S. Tohra, is seeking re-election. He faces Joginder Singh Fauji of the Morcha.

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