Badal threatens to quit over Haryana SGPC issue?

Chandigarh : Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is reported to have threatened to quit if the central government did not intervene in the controversial issue of setting up of a separate committee in Haryana to manage gurdwaras there, Shiromani Akali Dal sources said here Wednesday.

Badal rushed to New Delhi Wednesday, and even missed the annual budget announcements of his government in the state assembly here, to meet union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the Haryana SGPC issue.

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Badal is reported to have told the central ministers that if the union government did not stop the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana from setting up a separate SGPC for the state, he was ready to sacrifice his job to protect the interests of the Sikh community and the Amritsar-based SGPC.

Sources said Badal was told that the matter would be discussed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes back after attending the BRICS summit in Brazil.

The Akali Dal is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. The Akali Dal and the BJP have an alliance government in Punjab since 2007.

The Haryana assembly Friday passed a bill under which a new Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) would be set up to manage gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in Haryana.

The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, got the assent of the Haryana governor Monday.

The Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is a mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs which controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

There are 72 gurdwaras in Haryana under the SGPC and they contribute over Rs.300 million (Rs.30 crore) to the SGPC kitty.

The SGPC controls majority of the gurdwaras in Punjab, including the holiest of all Sikh shrines, Harmandar Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple, in Amritsar.