The Shiromani Akali Dal-Sant Samaj combine headed for a thumping victory in the election to the General House of the SGPC bagging 41 seats so far and leading in 70 others by convincing margins.
Reports received from elections offices of party nominees said the SAD-Sant Samaj combine had emerged triumphant in 41 seats so far.
The combine was leading in 70 other seats by huge margins, the reports said.
However, the results would be declared officially after a final verdict by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the wake of a controversy over not allowing of Sehajdhari(non-baptised) Sikhs to exercise their franchise.
Reacting to the poll results, the SAD said the mandate was a lesson to the Congress to refrain from meddling in internal affairs of the Sikhs.
SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said the Congress would face a humiliating defeat in next year’s state assembly polls too.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the outcome was a tremendous rebuff to anti-Sikh forces led by the Congress.
There are 190 members of the General House of which 15 are co-opted. Designated five Singh Sahibs (apex clerics) are ex-officio members.
The main fight this time was between the ruling SAD and the Panthic Morcha.
Amid sporadic violence, an estimated 50 to 55 per cent of the electorate cast votes for election to the General House of the SGPC, known as mini-parliament of Sikhs.
Former Chief Minister and Punjab Congress head Amarinder Singh and his wife Preneet Kaur, a Union Minister, did not cast votes in Patiala.
Reports of clashes during the polling were received from almost all parts of the state, police said. A person allegedly owing allegiance to ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) fired shots in the air in Kariwala village in Muktsar district, police said adding Panthic Morcha candidate Charanjit Singh was injured in the violence.
Polling was cancelled in villages Kariwala and Buttar Shera after a scuffle broke out between two groups. In Ajnala in Amritsar, son of a Panthic Morcha candidate was arrested for carrying pistol outside the polling booth in village Mohan Bhandaria, police said.
Among the 170 elected members, 157 are from Punjab, 11 from Haryana and one each from Himachal and Chandigarh.
The SAD had secured a majority in the last election held in July 2004 winning 134 seats.
The verdict will be out on September 22nd. But Shiromani Akali Dal is not waiting for official confirmation. For the party, the outcome is a foregone conclusion: that they will return to SGPC with a sweeping majority. And going by the poll trends, it will be wrong to doubt the party.
Within an hour of voting coming to an end at 4 pm, SAD leaders were out on the streets celebrating victory. Bibi Jagir Kaur declared of taking the Bholath seat, defeating her nearest rival by 14,000 votes.
Sucha Singh Langah claimed victory from Dhariwal, while Sewa Singh Sekhwan from Gurdaspur seat with a margin of 10,000 votes.
From Dera Baba Nanak, SAD’s Amrik Singh called himself the winner. He, however, sounded a sour note, accusing Nirmal Singh Kahlon and his son of working against the party.
From Amritsar West seat which was reserved for women, Kiranjot Kaur said she came out on top.
In Fatehgarh Sahib too, SAD was the party of the moment. Ravinder Singh Khalsa claimed defeating his nearest rival by 8,500 votes to take Amloh seat.
From Bassi Pathana, Randhir Singh Cheema claimed defeating Simranjeet Singh Mann. Senior leader from SAD Karnail Singh Panjoli attributed the win to the party’s tie-up with Sant Samaj.
Going by their assertions, it has been an SAD show in the SGPC elections, the official confirmation will be made on September 22nd.
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