In a major fillip to the Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Deepinder Dhillon, advocate Satbir Singh Khatra, chairman of the Patiala Welfare society (PWS) has announced his support to the SAD-BJP alliance.
Khatra has a stronghold in the Patiala rural assembly segments from where the Congress is anticipating huge lead, as Khatra is at loggerheads with SAD constituency in-charge Harmel Singh Tohra.
Now both Tohra family and Khatra supporting him, Deepinder Dhillon has got a huge advantage as their joint vote bank is almost equal to the votes which the Congress has got in 2012 assembly polls. Khatra also holds a strong footing in his native town of Nabha and adjoining areas.
Khatra, who was at loggerheads with the Tohra family and contested as an Akali rebel in 2012 elections, had got nearly 20,530 votes as independent and had led from all major villages in the Patiala rural constituency.
Khatra, an active social worker, was demanding SAD ticket, but when he was denied he contested against Kuldeep Kaur Tohra and led to the loss of Akalis with a margin of 27,000 plus votes.
In the view of his strong base, the SAD Patiala district in-charge and cabinet minister Sikandar Singh Maluka had roped Khatra back in the party last year, but he was working under the banner of his NGO, the PWS, an active organization in rural areas of Patiala.
Till recently, he was not campaigning for Dhillon, who was campaigning with Harmel Tohra and other Tohra family members in the Patiala rural segments.
In the monthly meeting of the PWS, Deepinder Singh Dhillon read out his agenda for the Patiala.
He apprised the members that if elected, he would strive hard to bring industry in Patiala to increase employment opportunities.
Following this, Khatra presented a resolution to support Dhillon which society members approved.
Satbir Khatra said: "He would work hard to ensure a big victory of the SAD in this Patiala rural segment from where the Akalis always trailed."
Speaking on the occasion, Cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra lauded the social work done by the society and by Khatra. He said SAD always worked for the betterment of society, thus the youngsters should vote for SAD to make Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.