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Gravesend's Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara elects new president Davinder Singh Bains for first time in 12 years
GRAVESEND’s Gurdwara has a new president after thousands voted in the first elections for more than a decade.
Davinder Singh Bains has taken over the reins at the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara after the 55-year-old, representing the Shinde (A1) faction, scored nearly 65 per cent of the 3,656 ballots cast to defeat Ajit Singh Clare by a massive 1,094 votes on October 6.
The temple in Saddington Street is the largest in Europe and has not seen a change of hands since the new building was opened in 2010, and no elections at all for 12 years.
One of Mr Bains’ campaign organisers Samir Jassal, 28, has hailed the result as a "game-changer".
Speaking after the four week campaign he told News Shopper: "It’s a massive change for the community.
"There were about 150 people outside from 10 o’clock at night when the result was announced. The mood was ecstatic and there’s real enthusiasm for change after such a long time.
"There were people from India and all over the world ringing up to find out the result and it’s a real game-changer."
The main priority for the new administration is to get more young people involved with plans to start a sub youth committee.
The group of under 30s will shadow the close to 50-strong main committee which will itself include some compulsory female appointments.
Mr Jassal said: "It is a massive thing to get the youth involved because they are ultimately going to inherit this magnificent building.
"We don’t want it to turn into a white elephant and a £21 million building no one goes to."
Mr Bains, who owns a motorway construction company and lives in Lennox Road, added: "I am very humbled to have been elected to this position.
"I am totally committed to working not just with the Sikh community but other faiths across the borough and around Kent.
"We pride ourselves for the excellent community relations enjoyed in Gravesham and the Gurdwara has a key role to play in this."
With around 6,500 Sikhs in Gravesham and 5,585 registered to vote, the turnout at the election represented more than 65 per cent of those eligible to take part and 56 per cent of all those following the faith in the borough.
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