Chandigarh: The two-day Punjab assembly special session which began with obituary references on Monday is all set to see fireworks over the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s move to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act so as to ensure free telecast of Gurbani from Golden Temple on Tuesday, the day two of the session.
Section 125-A to be added to Gurdwara Act
The Mann Cabinet on Monday approved to amend the Act and to insert Section 125-A in the Act, thereby casting duty on the SGPC to ensure free to air live telecast of the Holy Gurbani from Sri Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar. Mann said that this move aimed at ensuring that the Holy Gurbani was not commercialised in any manner.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) have vehemently opposed the move.
Details of the Gurdwara Act
For the record, the Act governs the functioning of SGPC which manages about 100 gurdwaras in Punjab, including Harmandar Sahib and also the rights for the telecast of Gurbani from here.
However, PTC, a private news-cum-entertainment channel, which is known to be pro-Akalis, has the rights to telecast the same. The contract for Gurbani telecast is said to be ending in about a month’s time and Mann has offered to pay all the expenses for Gurbani telecast across the channels free of charge, though, the SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami has announced to call tenders to allot the rights.
The SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema has alleged that the government was interfering in the Sikhs’ religious matters and that the decision taken on the directions of AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal would not be tolerated by Sikhs.
Privilege motion likely against Bajwa
Meanwhile, with the state assembly likely to take up a privilege motion against Bajwa, fireworks seemed imminent in the session.
In the House of 117 members, the ruling AAP has 92 members, Congress, which is the principal opposition party, has 18, the SAD, three (its ally BSP, one), the BJP has two members and there is one independent.
Bajwa under fire for comments against AAP MLA
Bajwa faces AAP condemnation for his remarks made a few days ago when he had called AAP MLA Labh Singh Ugoke "a mobile charger" who had upset the apple cart of Congress former CM. Ugoke had won from Bhadaur (SC seat) defeating Charanjit Singh Channi, who was also the Congress’ chief ministerial candidate.
The Dalit leaders of the AAP had raised a furore over Bajwa’s remark demanding his unconditional apology saying that Bajwa was unable to digest a mobile repairman becoming an MLA. However, Bajwa, who refused to apologise, held that he did not insult Dalits.