Vancouver They call it the 'Obama Effect' and every political campaign since November 4 is being judged on whether the victory is proof of youth and new ideas prevailing or a sign that the status quo has won. In Vancouver, the near landslide victory of political novice Gregor Robertson as the new mayor was credited to the so-called Obama Effect. Now, in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, the election of a new, youthful slate of South Asians to the leadership of one of the country's most prominent Sikh temples is also being hailed as a sign of change. The election of the president and executive leaders in a place of worship doesn't make headlines anywhere else. The exception is at the Guru Nanak temple in Surrey, a site so influential beyond its 20,000 members that no politician campaigning for a seat dares miss making a stop to show their respect to the community. The Guru Nanak temple is the second largest in North America, and among the 1 million South Asians across the country - of whom a vast majority are Sikhs - it holds a special place of prominence. British Columbia has the oldest South Asian population in Canada, with immigrants arriving in the early 20th century for jobs in sawmills. Ten years ago, factional rivalry within the Guru Nanak temple led to a battle between traditional and moderate worshippers. The more traditional Sikhs wanted the tables and chairs removed from inside the langar halls where the faithful have their meals, arguing that members should sit on the floor as a sign of being equal. The moderate Sikhs, who held the leadership within the temple, wanted to keep the furniture. During 1996 and 1997, fights broke out, and in one particularly violent skirmish the traditional faction tried to take out the tables and chairs while their moderate fellow Sikhs held on to them. The new president-elect of the temple, 26-year-old Amardeep Singh, says the issue has now reemerged. 'We plan to sit down with the community and come up with a peaceful resolution,' said Mr Singh, whose Sikh Youth slate won the leadership after the moderates split into two rival factions. Mr Singh says he wants to learn what the worshippers want at the temple. Balwant Singh Gill, the current president who will turn over the leadership on January 1, said he believed the community would want to keep the tables and chairs inside the temple's langar hall. Influential radio host Harjinder Thind, who has a daily call-in show with thousands of listeners, said the issue of whether to keep tables and chairs had been largely forgotten in the community but the recent election could revive the debate. 'These are young people who have been helped to win by young people. They're soft-spoken and have Canadian values. They happen to be Sikhs,' Thind says. The 'Obama Effect' was a factor, with young South Asians getting involved in voting and backing a group they believe represented their values. The turnout in the temple election is the kind that politicians from the municipal level to the federal campaigns can only dream about. During civic elections this month, 25 per cent of eligible voters turned out. Federally, the turnout in the recent general election was the lowest in history, with only six out of 10 eligible voters casting a ballot. For the temple elections last week, more than 70 per cent of members cast their ballots to determine who would lead the worshippers. For a new young group of leaders, much attention is now being focused on how their traditional viewpoints will influence so many people looking to them for guidance.