AMRITSAR – Contrary to its 2002 stand, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Monday honoured Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh with ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) at Golden Temple here on Monday.
The chief minister, who reached Golden Temple early in the morning, did a ‘parikrama’ of the holy shrine before offering prayers at the sanctum sanctorum, where head granthi Giani Jagtar Singh presented him the ‘siropa’.
Later, the SGPC executive members and officer bearers also honoured him inside the information office.
However, SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar remained absent due to health issues, said the SGPC sources. SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh was present throughout.
Amarinder was earlier denied ‘siropa’ during his visit to Sri Harmandir Sahib after becoming the chief minister in 2002, which had evoked a sharp reaction.
Though in 2004, he was given ‘siropa’ by the SGPC, that was not inside the sanctum sanctorum.
CM seeks blessings
From the Golden Temple, Amarinder went to Jallianwala Bagh and then the historic Durgiana Mandir. The chief minister and his colleagues later visited Sri Ram Tirath Sthal to offer prayers before leaving for Hoshiarpur, where he was scheduled to visit a citrus estate and inaugurate a new tractor manufacturing facility.
Notably, the chief minister was guarded by heavy multi-layer security during his visit to the shrine and despite repeated efforts, he did not talk to the media.
In statement, Amarinder said it was a gratifying experience for him to visit the holy shrines, “which are a fountainhead of peace for millions of people from around the world”. He said he and his colleagues wished to express their gratitude to God for their victory in the recent Punjab assembly elections. He said they had come to these temples to pray for the state, and its peace and development.
Among those who accompanied him were the newly appointed Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Sunil Jakhar, MP from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla, cabinet ministers Manpreet Singh Badal, Rana Gurjit Singh, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sadhu Singh Dharmsot.
Various MLAs of Amritsar district and MLA from Jalandhar Cantt Pargat Singh was also present.