Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday went to the headquarters of Radha Soami Dera at Beas, about 35 kilometres from here.
Around 5pm, he left Amritsar, and in about an hour, he reached the dera; where he will stay overnight. Since the state elections are due in less than a year, the leaders of all parties are making rounds of the popular deras of Punjab.
Even the district administration and top police officers were caught off guard. Police had to make sudden arrangements when Rahul entered the jurisdiction of Beas by road. “We had no information until the last moment,” said a top official of the administration, who has confirmed that sect head Gurinder Singh Dhillon was at the dera when Rahul arrived without the company of a senior leader.
A few months ago, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh had also visited the dera. In 2014, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader LK Advani had stayed here for the night. A few days ago, even Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal had visited Dera Sachkhand Ballan, a sect of the Ravidassia Dalits near Jalandhar.