Candidates make beeline for Sirsa dera to seek its chief’s ‘blessings’ | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Candidates make beeline for Sirsa dera to seek its chief’s ‘blessings’

Ahead of the state polls, leaders from all major parties in Punjab reached the Dera Sacha Sauda here in droves to seek “blessings” of its chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

punjab Updated: Jan 28, 2017 10:06 IST
Bhaskar Mukherjee
Over two dozen candidates belonging to the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) alliance and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made a beeline for the dera.
Over two dozen candidates belonging to the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) alliance and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made a beeline for the dera.(HT Photo)

Ahead of the state polls, leaders from all major parties in Punjab reached the Dera Sacha Sauda here in droves to seek “blessings” of its chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Over two dozen candidates belonging to the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) alliance and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made a beeline for the dera from early in the morning for audience with its chief. Former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Vijay Inder Singla, Kewal Dhillon, Karan Brar (Congress), Sikander Singh Maluka, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Jeetmohinder Singh (SAD), Narinder Sandha and Malkit Singh (AAP) were among the prominent ones.

Finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa had met the dera chief on Thursday evening, more are expected before the February 4 poll. The dera has a huge following, especially among the Dalits, and wields considerable sway in Malwa region of the state. The region accounts for 69 of the 117 seats and the dera support can help in the closely-contested triangular fight. The dera had backed the Congress in 2007, but did not give a clear signal to its supporters in 2012.

However, most of them claimed to be “regular” visitors to the dera, saying that their visit had nothing to do with the upcoming elections.

Dhindsa told Hindustan Times that he had come for the ‘Ru-Ba-Ru’ programme. “There is nothing political about my visit,” he said. Also, the dera’s political wing is still to open its cards.

Ram Singh, chairperson of the dera’s political wing, said that no decision had been taken so far. “The meetings are going on. Guru ji gave time to the leaders and many leaders from SAD and Congress came to meet him,” he said, putting the number of political visitors from different parties at 60.