Badal to hold meeting on SGPC chief tomorrow

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Amritsar, Nov 21 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will hold a meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) members here tomorrow to solicit their views on whether to give another term to the present Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar or to replace him.

The meeting to be held at Bhai Gurdass Hall comes a day before the annual office bearer polls of the SGPC to elect the president, senior and junior vice-presidents, general secretary and the 11-member executive.

According to SGPC sources here, the meeting is expected to be a mere formality as the SAD members would leave the choice to Mr Badal, who is also the president of the party. The SAD has around 145 members in the 190-member SGPC general house, including the Jathedars of the five Sikh Takhts.

As has been the case in the past, Mr Badal will make no formal announcement of his choice for the top SGPC post before the elections. He would simply hand over a sealed envelope to one of confidants in the SGPC who will open it during the meeting and announce the SAD nominees for the four posts and the executive committee members.

The election is likely to be unanimous as the other factions of the Akali Dals do not have the strength to challenge the SAD. At the most they can comprise with the SAD members to facilitate the inclusion of one or two of their members in the executive.

Though various names are doing the rounds, but Mr Badal is likely to give Jathedar Makkar another term, which would be his third year in office. The other names doing the rounds are those of former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar and senior leader Sewa Singh Sekhwan.

Mr Badal on his part refused to disclose his choice to mediapersons at Chandigarh today. '' The SGPC members will make the choice'', he quipped when questioned about his choice.

UNI

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