Tribune News Service
Amritsar, December 5 After sweeping the SGPC elections, the ruling SAD further strengthened its position by co-opting candidates on all 15 seats at the first meeting of the newly formed House at Teja Singh Samundari Hall here today. The SAD already has 157 of the 170 elected members in the House. The Opposition with only 13 members presented a name for co-option, but it was rejected on technical grounds.
Those who made it to the new SGPC House through co-option include former SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar, former executive member Karnail Singh Panjoli, Ram Singh, Jagtar Singh Rode (all from Punjab) former SGPC senior vice-president Raghujeet Singh Virk from Haryana, Surjeet Singh Kang from Rajasthan, Sharanjeet Singh, Charanjeet Singh, Sukhmeet Singh (all from UP), Harbhajan Singh Cheema from Uttarakhand, Harmanjeet Singh, Bhupinder Singh Anand, Gurminder Singh Matharu (all from New Delhi), Gurinder Singh Bawa from Mumbai and Sukhwinder Kaur from MP.
Badungar and Virk have made it to the SGPC House through co-option for the third consecutive time. Similarly, Bawa and Anand have got another chance from Mumbai and Delhi, respectively. The SAD gave one seat to its alliance partner, the Sant Samaj, by co-opting Jagtar Singh Rode, former Akal Takht Jathedar Jasbir Singh Rode’s brother, a confidant of Damdami Taksal Chief Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa.
The meeting was presided over by Tarn Taran DC Satwant Singh Johal. When the meeting began at 1 pm, the elected members were asked to choose the chairman to run the House proceedings. Rajinder Singh Mehta proposed the name of Avtar Singh Makkar, which was seconded by Amarjeet Singh Chawla. Makkar then led the proceedings to co-opt 15 members to the House.
There was chaos for a brief period when Opposition members Kulbir Singh Barapind, Surjeet Singh and Gurpreet Singh Chhabar insisted that one of their members be co-opted. The suggestion was turned down by the SAD. As the Opposition members charged towards the dais, the DC intervened and asked them to name their candidate. They moved the name of Bhai Isher Singh from Hyderabad but could not furnish the required documents.
Sikh Gurdwara Election Commissioner HS Brar, who was also present at the meeting, said the names of the co-opted members would be sent to the Centre which would issue a notification.