Eligible voters in DSGMC elections down to 3.42 lakh

The number of total eligible voters for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) elections on Sunday, have decreased against the total eligible electorate registered during the last elections held in 2017.

For the sixth DSGMC elections, a total of nearly 3.42 lakh residents of Delhi, who belong to the Sikh community, have been registered as eligible voters while the total number of eligible electorate during the last elections were nearly 3.86 lakh.

According to a senior DSGMC member, a total of 92,000 names have been removed from the fresh voter list prepared for this year’s elections while 48,000 new names have been added this time.

They will cast their votes to elect members of the DSGMC from the 312 candidates contesting the elections.

Of the total 312 candidates, 180 are from registered parties while 132 are independent candidates.

“There has been a consistent demand of DSGMC members that the names of all eligible voters should be mentioned with their photographs, but nearly 20 per cent names in the list are without photographs. However, a voter list was prepared after door-to-door visits last time in 1983. The DSGMC Act was last amended in 2010 and since then the elections are held accordingly.”

Voting will take place at 46 municipal wards of Delhi for which 546 polling booths have been set up. Voting will take place using ballot papers.

According to the Directorate of Gurdwara elections of the Delhi government, to ensure that elections are held in a transparent way, as many as 23 Delhi government officials have been appointed as Returning Officers (RO) and 46 Assistant Returning Officers (ARO).

Five registered parties are contesting the DSGMC elections, including the three main parties — Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Jag Aasra Guru Ott (JAGO) of former DSGMC President Manjeet Singh GK and SAD (Delhi) led by Paramjit Singh Sarna, who also has an alliance with former Akal Takht Jathedar Ranjeet Singh-led Panthic Akali Lehar.

“We cannot assume which party will be elected with majority of members but people of the community are happy with the present committee because the committee did not call for the General House meeting and executive meetings for last two years. Although, present committee did several developments but there was lack of co-ordination in the system during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said DSGMC member Inder Mohan Singh.

The DSGMC is a non-political body and it had been established with certain rules and regulations, including that its members would not be associated with any political parties or activities, Singh added.

“Many members contest DSGMC elections to establish themselves as politicians. It is a religious and a non-political body and it should have been maintained the same,” Singh added.

Earlier, DSGMC’s elections were scheduled on April 23 but were postponed due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the national capital and have now been rescheduled for August 22.

During the last DSGMC elections held in 2017, nearly 45 per cent electorate had cast their votes.

The first DSGMC election was held in 1974 after the establishment of the Directorate of Gurdwara Elections of the Delhi government under the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act in 1971.