In a setback to the Punjab Congress in the Doaba region, party’s general secretary Kabir Dass, who is also Dera Sachkhand Ballan point man, resigned from the party on Tuesday.
Dass, a Dalit leader, will join the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and is likely to be its candidate from Shutrana or Nabha reserved assembly segments.
Dera Sachkhand Ballan has a large following in the politically significant Doaba region. Dalits constitute about 32% of the population in Punjab, which is the highest, percentage-wise, among all states. Of this, over one-third (12% of Punjab’s population) identify as Ravidassias and most of the Dera Sachkhand Ballan followers are Ravidassias.
Recently, Dass organised two meetings of Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh with dera head Niranjan Das.
In 2012, Dera Ballan followers had voted for the Bahujan Samaj Party resulting in Congress’ rout in Dalit dominated Doaba region.
Dass said: “I was feeling suffocated in the Congress as some leaders have an autocratic style of working. I will join Akali Dal,” he said.