With deras having a significant presence in the state, particularly Doaba region, and the ability to sway the election results, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) brass is reaching out to these denominations to persuade them in favour of the BJP.
In one such attempt to woo these groups, an RSS core group on Sunday held a meeting of more than 200 dera heads in Phagwara and urged them to support the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab and to make Narendra Modi the next prime minister of the country.
Sangh core committee member Indresh Kumar held the talks which were conducted at Guru Ravidass Gurdwara in Chakk-Hakeem village near Phagwara town.
“Almost all dera heads were made aware of Modi’s vision by the RSS leaders and they were requested to support the SADBJP combine in Punjab. The meeting was quite positive and will hope good results,” said a senior state-level functionary of the BJP, requesting anonymity.
It has been learnt that a senior leader belonging to the Dalit community from Jalandhar, a statelevel leader of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad besides RSS pracharaks played a key role in bringing the deras to for talks.
Last week, about 50 dera heads are learnt to have met industries minister Madan Mohan Mittal and BJP’s state organisation secretary Ajay Jambal at a lunch in Chandigarh.
Support of deras from Doaba re gion is very crucial for all political parties, particularly in the Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur parliamentary seats which have over 35% votes from the Ravidassia community.
Punjab has around 500 deras, the majority of them situated in Doaba, representing different communities.