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Punjab Assembly Authorises CM To Take Up SGPC Poll Issue With Centre || SNE

Feb 15, 2019

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Punjab Assembly Thursday authorised Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to take up the issue of SGPC elections with the Centre after Dakha lawmaker H S Phoolka raised it, amid noisy reaction from the SAD-BJP which sought to know whether the Supreme Court lawyer was still an MLA.During the Zero Hour on the third day of the Punjab Assembly Budget Session here, Phoolka, who had resigned as MLA last year, raised the issue of delay in elections of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of the Sikhs.Drawing attention of the chief minister in the House, Phoolka sought that the House should pass a resolution requesting the Central government to appoint chief commissioner of the gurdwara elections for holding the SGPC polls at the earliest.



Concurring with Dakha legislator, Amarinder Singh assured the House that he would certainly meet the Home Minister regarding the delay in the SGPC polls.”I agree with member (Phoolka). The Gurdwara Act is a national legislation. But the elections (of SGPC) have not been held for last three years. I will certainly meet the Home Minister and tell him that you cannot have in democracy that you do not hold elections for three years. Elections should be held,” said Amarinder Singh.He also sought permission of the Speaker, on behalf of his government, to adopt the resolution moved by the AAP MLA on Wednesday.Amidst protests by SAD and BJP MLAs, the Speaker put the resolution to vote, as a result of which the House authorised Amarinder Singh to raise the issue with the Union government immediately.



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As the resolution was put to vote by the Speaker, the members of ruling party, AAP and Lok Insaaf Party welcomed it with thumping of desks.Talking to media outside the House, Amarinder Sing said there was unanimity in the House on the issue as the elections were over due by three years.Only the Akalis and BJP members were not in favour, he said.Earlier, when Amarinder Singh concurred with Phoolka on the SGPC polls, Akalis asked the Speaker to clear air about the membership of Phoolka who had already resigned as MLA and from the primary membership of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).”It should be clear whether he (Phoolka) is still an MLA or has he withdrawn his resignation,” Akali MLA N K Sharma said while stating that it was a “murder of democracy” as a person was still sitting in the House despite resigning from the membership.



Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, while saying that Phoolka was an elected member, retorted “if anybody had problem then let it be”.Leader of Opposition and AAP legislator Harpal Singh Cheema accused Akalis of not wanting SGPC polls, “fearing they might lose their control over the religious body”.Akali and BJP legislators, who were on their feet, sought to know whether Phoolka was still an MLA.”There is a constitutional crisis here. Who is the member of AAP or who is rebel here? It (AAP) is a B team of the Congress and the match-fixing between both parties are being witnessed in the House,” Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia said.”You hold SGPC elections. You are welcome to hold polls. But there should not be the mockery of the Constitution. Speaker should tell whether he (Phoolka) is still an MLA or not,” he asked.Phoolka said, “Every Sikh wants good management of the SGPC and every Sikh wants SGPC elections which have been delayed.”



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Later, Speaker Rana KP Singh informed the House that till any decision is taken on the resignation, Phoolka will be the member of the House.He further informed that Phoolka’s resignation was not in “proper format” and a notice has been given to him.Phoolka, former Leader of Opposition of Punjab Assembly, had tendered his resignation as MLA from Dakha in October 2018 over the alleged inaction by the state government on Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on desecration of religious texts.Known for fighting legal battle of 1984 “anti-Sikh” riot cases, Phoolka had also quit the AAP in January this year.

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