Bishnoi keeps separate Sikh body issue alive

Karnal, Haryana: The chief ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party-Haryana Janhit Congress (BJP-HJC) combine, Kuldeep Bishnoi, has revived the ‘buried issue’ of a separate body for managing gurdwaras in the state – Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.

At a political rally held in Hisar on Sunday, Bishnoi announced to constitute a separate panel to manage Sikh shrines in Haryana, if the alliance is voted to power in the state.

Though the announcement has been welcomed by the Sikh leaders of Haryana, they are refraining from committing their support to the alliance.

According to the political observers, out of 90 assembly constituencies, 30 segments have considerable number of Sikh voters.

“Bishnoi’s announcement is aimed at wooing the Sikhs as the Congress has failed to constitute the HSGPC. Now, the Cong ress may be forced to make the Chhatha Committee report public to keep the sikh votes intact,” said an analyst, who wished not to be named.

The two factions of the HSGPC (ad-hoc) led by Didar Singh Nalwi and Jagdish Singh Jhinda said that they were elated that at least a political party understood the feelings of the minority community.

However, both factions said that the BJP-HJC alliance was yet to convince the Sikhs that it was serious on the issue.

Nalwi said that the BJP was in an alliance with the HJC in Haryana and Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab and Bishnoi needed to prove that he would not buck under any pressure.

“Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) are the real hurdles in freeing gurdwaras of Haryana from the control of Amritsarbased Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee,” said Nalwi.

Jhinda said that the Congress did not kee p its promise despite incorporating the demand for a separate Sikh body in its manifestoes during the 2004 and 2009 assembly and parliamentary polls, respectively.

“We are not in a hurry and will wait for Bishnoi’s invitation to discuss the issue. If he convinces the leaders, we may take a political decision, otherwise we will float a political front and contest elections directly or support a party that assures formation of HSGPC,” said Jhinda.

Source: HT

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