Major Upset For Badals' Akali Dal Despite Win In Delhi Sikh Body Polls

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal downplayed Manjinder Singh Sirsa's defeat.

Major Upset For Badals' Akali Dal Despite Win In Delhi Sikh Body Polls

Manjinder Sirsa represented Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) in the elections.

New Delhi:

In a major upset for the Badal family-led Akali Dal, party leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who headed the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, faced a defeat in the polls for the Sikh body today.

Mr Sirsa represented Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) in the elections held on Sunday and he lost by 525 votes from Harvinder Singh Sarna, who represented the SAD (Delhi) faction.

Following his defeat, however, Mr Sirsa was nominated to the Committee. The Badal faction said since the polls were contested under his leadership, his name was chosen by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. This potentially opens his path to even the post of chairperson.

Even though the Akali Dal won the polls of one of the country's top Sikh bodies, Mr Sirsa's defeat is going to be a setback for the Badals ahead of the 2022 Punjab polls. Mr Sirsa, 49, the party's national spokesperson, has been the face of the Badals' Akali Dal. He has been vocal on several key issues recently, including Afghanistan crisis and farmers' protest.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, however, downplayed Mr Sirsa's defeat. "I want to thank the Delhi Sangat for the victory in 27 of 46 seats. There were attempts to divide the group. Yet we have got the opportunity to serve the Guru. We won under the leadership of Mr Sirsa. The party will nominate him again in DSGMC from SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee)," he said today. 

The SAD (Delhi) faction has won 15 of 46 seats.

"We feel humbled and blessed to win 27 seats out of 46 in DSGMC elections. This win is the victory of Delhi's Sangat. We bow our head to the honour bestowed upon Shiromani Akali Dal by the Sangat of Delhi (sic)," Mr Sirsa tweeted this afternoon.

On Tuesday, he wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah - on behalf of the Sikh body - to provide citizenship to those seeking refuge in India in a bid to escape the Taliban rule.

"Requesting @AmitShah ji & Govt of India for necc amendments in CAA to cover Sikhs+Hindus of Afghanistan who have taken refuge in 2020 & 2021. India has taken a humanitarian step by supporting minorities of Afghanistan & it would be great to help them by granting Indian citizenship," he wrote in a tweet.

"I request Prime Minister and Home Minister to amend CAA and extend the cut-off date from 2014 to 2021 so that people coming from Afghanistan get benefitted and lead a safe life here and their children are able to study here," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.