All parties out to woo Dalit deras in Doaba
With an eye on the Dalit vote bank, especially in the Doaba region, almost all political parties have deputed senior leaders to liaison with dera heads ahead of the assembly elections due early next year. Rajeev Bhaskar reports.india Updated: Dec 06, 2011 23:27 IST
With an eye on the Dalit vote bank, especially in the Doaba region, almost all political parties have deputed senior leaders to liaison with dera heads ahead of the assembly elections due early next year.
Dalits constitute 34% of the electorate in Doaba region comprising Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr and Kapurthala districts.
Punjab has around 500 deras (religious groups) of Dalit communities, a majority of them in Doaba.
Leaders of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party alliance (SAD-BJP) as well as Congress, BSP and People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) are in touch with these deras.
Congress has deputed Dalit leaders Choudhary Jagjit Singh and local MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee for talks with the head of Dera Sachkhand, Ballan.
SAD-BJP has chosen Dalit leaders Avinash Chander (MLA) and Pawan Kumar Tinu to solicit support of Dera Babe Jaure.
On Monday, Punjab deputy chief minister and SAD president Sukhbir Badal had visited the Jat community-dominated Dera Kahna Dhesian, near Goraya, where head Surinder Singh Babla declared support for the party.
According to sources in BJP, Punjab SC-ST Commission chairman Rajesh Bagha is a key leader for the party in the talks with the deras.
BSP, which earlier used to claim undisputed support of Dalit deras, has also constituted a team to woo them over.
PPP president Manpreet Badal visited Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa recently. The dera, has a large following in the Malwa region.