A Sikh Youth slate has taken control of North America's second largest Sikh temple, after being elected to run the executive of the Guru Nanak Temple in Surrey, B.C.

Observers say the Sikh Youth slate was able capitalize on in-fighting between two separate groups of moderate Sikhs, who have managed to retain control of the Temple for the past decade.

This election is being closely watched because of divisions within the community over issues such as the use of tables and chairs in the communal dining area, a place that is meant to promote equality.

The moderate Sikhs have favoured keeping tables and chairs at the temple, while the Youth Slate favours getting rid of them.

It is an issue that has sparked violence in the past.

See related link: Moderates fight to retain power at Sikh temple

When the results were declared at 3:00 a.m. on Monday, the more fundamentalist Sikh Youth slate emerged with 5,900 votes, beating a moderate slate led by Balwant Singh Gill, which came in second with 4,470 votes.

Another group of moderate Sikhs, led by Sadhu Samra came in third with 3,947 votes.

Of the roughly 21,000 Temple members who are eligible to vote, 14,594 actually did so.

Now that the Youth slate has won, it is expected to hold a referendum on the issue of whether to keep tables and chairs in the temple.

Like another youth slate which controls the Sikh Temple Sukhsagar in New Westminster, Guru Nanak's new executive is expected to hold seminars in a bid to discourage young Sikhs from taking drugs and get them more involved in religion and temple affairs.

"We're a new generation and we're hoping we can just put the whole community together again, and you know, move past this issue of the tables and chairs," said Randheer Singh, a Youth Slate member told CTV on Sunday.

Under the new executive, the temple will no longer be used for political purposes, said Radio India talk show host Harpreet Singh.

Guru Nanak is North America's second largest Sikh temple. The Ross Street Temple in Vancouver is the largest.