After seven years, Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda has once again gone public with its political wing’s choice to support the BJP in the Haryana assembly elections.
Though the dera has remained politically active, it avoided any public confirmation of its political wing decisions after the Punjab assembly elections in 2007 in which the Congress had failed to form the government in the state despite the dera’s open support.
“The saadh sangat has decided to support the BJP. The decision will be conveyed to the sangat well in time,” said Jasvir Ladwa, member of the dera’s political wing.
When asked if the dera had made any demand of the BJP, he said no demand had been made; the dera wanted the country to be developed and with this end in view, it was supporting the BJP.
Jasvir claimed that there were 60 lakh dera followers in Haryana and 45 lakh of them were voters. The dera claimed that its wing is active in 104 blocks.
The decision to support the BJP comes soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the dera’s activities at an election rally in Sirsa on Saturday.
Meanwhile, dera’s political wing member Ram Singh claimed that there would be no impact of the decision on politics in Punjab. “There will be no impact of the Haryana wing’s decision to support the BJP on Punjab politics. We have a mechanism to ask the saadh sangat before making any decision and it will be followed in Punjab when there are elections,” said Ram Singh.
Dera politics in Punjab
Soon after the SAD formed the government in Punjab in 2007 despite the dera’s opposition, a controversy over dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s dress ensued and Punjab saw ugly spats between Sikhs and dera followers.
In the 2009 parliamentary elections, the dera announced that the issue of female foeticide was one of the most important criteria to judge candidates. Harsimrat Kaur Badal had just entered politics after launching the Nanhi Chhaan campaign and contested against Congress’ Raninder Singh.
During the 2012 Punjab assembly elections, then Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh had tried to woo the dera followers at an election rally in Bathinda. However, dera head’s close relative and Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi, who was present at the rally, lost from Bathinda to the SAD candidate.