Despite opposition from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution seeking to expedite elections to the cash-rich Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
The Assembly has asked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to meet union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in this regard.
The SGPC, the highest religious body of the Sikh community, controls gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and has an annual budget of over Rs 1,200 crore.
The demand for elections to the SGPC was raised by legislator H.S. Phoolka, who pointed out that its term had ended in 2016.
However, the Akali Dal legislators objected to the demand, saying that Phoolka had resigned from the Assembly two months ago.
It was clarified that Phoolka was still a member of the house as his resignation had not been accepted by Assembly Speaker Rana K.P. Singh.
With most SGPC members affiliated to the SAD, the party has controlled the Sikh body over the past few decades.
Even the SGPC president is appointed with the blessings of the Akali Dal top leadership – former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Sukhbir Singh Badal (SAD President).