With Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) getting Gobind Singh Longowal reappointed as president of the cash-rich Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday accused Badal family of promoting ‘lifafa culture’ (envelope culture) and dishonouring the glorious institutions of Sikhism and Punjab.

The SGPC members had on Monday authorised SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal to decide on the appointment of the SGPC president. His name was proposed by former SGPC president Jagir Kaur and seconded by another former SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar who are both associated with the SAD.

Commenting on this election process, AAP said Badals must apologise to the Punjabis and Sikh community for their misdeeds.

The chief spokesperson and legislator Baljinder Kaur said that although AAP is secular party and respect all the religions but condemns the way of Badal family to grab control of the SGPC. Badal family has defeated the purpose of SGPC to look after gurdwaras and promote Sikhism.

Kaur said that the party and family that is facing the heat of Sikhs for desecration and other Sikh issues appointing SGPC president in an authoritarian way is commendable.

The Badal family must abstain from further dishonoring the religion. She said that it would have better if Sukhbir Badal was away from the selection process of SGPC president and let the members decide on their own.

The decision to re-appoint Longowal as president was taken at the annual meeting of the SGPC general house held inside the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.

Longowal was appointed SGPC President for the first time in November last year. Gurbachan Singh Karmowala and Raghujit Singh Karnal were re-appointed General Secretary and Senior vice president of the SGPC respectively.

The SGPC, considered a mini-Parliament of Sikh religious affairs, has an annual budget of nearly Rs 1,200 crore. The SGPC, which has control over Sikh religious affairs, manages gurdwaras (Sikh temples) in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, including the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar.

Under the envelope culture, SAD? patron Parkash Singh Badal and the SAD president Sukhbir name the new SGPC president in an envelope and have it opened in the general House meeting on the election day.

The envelope is handed over to an SGPC member, loyal to the Badals, and the name on it is announced. Two other members endorse the name, with the rest of the members giving their approval by raising their hands, amid sloganeering of ‘Jo Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akal’. After this, the next SGPC? president is considered to be elected unanimously