Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday visited Dera Lal Nath Ji and held a closed-door meeting with the dera head and its management, apparently in a bid to garner support for SAD candidate from the Jalandhar Pawan Kumar Tinu.
Pawan Kumar Tinu and local MLA GS Wadala were present on the occasion. The dera will support Tinu in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Badal answered rather diplomatically, saying the Election Commission of India had banned campaigning in a religious place.
He said he had come to pay obeisance at the dera of Lal Nath Ji, whose 17th anniversary is being celebrated. Dera head Baba Pargat Nath lent support to the chief minister. Badal said deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal was supposed to visit the dera but could not do so after he went to New Delhi to attend a meeting and instead asked him to come here.
Badal held the closed-door meeting for about 20 minutes. The dera has a mass base among the Balmiki community.
A heavy police deployment was made there. Superintendent of police (detective) HPS Khakh said since the chief minister was a Z+ protectee, the police had to make foolproof security arrangements.