Amritsar: Former Punjab minister Gobind Singh Longowal was elected as the 42nd chief of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of the Sikhs, during its annual general house meeting here today.
Longowal, who is the former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Dhuri constituency, was elected after he defeated his nearest rival Amrik Singh Shahpur of Dera Baba Nanak by securing 154 votes out of total 169 votes.
However, Shahpur was later included in the 11-member executive body after some members of the body insisted. SGPC, which had already announced its 11-member executive body, had to remove one member —Jarnail Singh Kartarpur — from its list.
SGPC also elected Gurbachan Singh Karmowala its general secretary, while Raghujit Singh and Harpal Singh were elected as its senior vice-president and junior vice-president respectively.
Earlier, SGPC member Bibi Jagir Kaur proposed the name of Gobind Singh Longowal as the next SGPC president. Election for SGPC chief's post were necessitated when a group led by SGPC member Sukhdev Singh Bhaur proposed the name of Amrik Singh Shahpur for the president's post.
Soon after Longowal's election, the SGPC General House also passed a resolution condemning the move to rename Dyal Singh (Evening) College in Delhi as Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya.
Longowal has remained an MLA in 1985, 1997 and 2002. He had also won a by-election from Dhuri in 2015.
A day before the annual elections of the SGPC, its members owing allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), on Tuesday gave all rights to the party president Sukhbir Singh Badal to choose the next president. The Akali Dal controls the apex gurdwara body owing to its majority in its general house.