Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to gain significantly from the open support given by the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda. BJP’s Karnal candidate Manohar Lal Khattar, who is among the frontrunners for the chief minister’s post of the saffron party wins, told HT that the dera’s followers would prove an asset for the party.
“Not only the Sirsa dera but several other social and spiritual organisations are convinced with the BJP’s ideology of pro-people and transparent governance; and offered us support. Certainly, Dera Sacha Sauda’s support will give our candidates an edge, and we are confidant of full majority,” said Khattar, a senior pracharak of the RSS.
On Monday afternoon, the political wing of the Dera had announced “full support” to all 90 candidates of the BJP. It had come after PM Narendra Modi praised the dera at a rally. The move was seen a masterstroke by BJP strategists as various assembly segments across the state have dera followers. According to political observers, the dera’s followers follow such instructions and tend to vote en bloc.
“In the past, the dera followers had unanimously decided the electoral fate of candidates. But this time, the dera management has, after more than seven years, officially showed its political interest. That will have a major impact. In several constituencies where the BJP had a close fight, the party could now lead with a slender margin,” said an analyst.
He said that while PM Modi ‘bowing’ to khap panchayats at his Jind rally was aimed at consolidating Jat voters, the Sirsa dera’s support could be the game-changer for the BJP.
Khattar did not vote
BJP candidate Manohar Lal Khattar could not exercise his franchise as he is not a registered voter in Karnal. His close aide Puneet Kumar confirmed to HT that Khattar’s vote is at Kalanaur in Rohtak. “He was scheduled to go to Kalanaur in the evening but could not,” said Puneet.