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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Lok Sabha election: BJP hints at seeking votes from dera followers in Punjab

BJP’s alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has already made it clear that it will not seek dera votes following the Akal Takht’s direction.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 17, 2019 22:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Haryana finance minister Captain Abhimanyu (Centre), BJP Punjab president Shwait Malik (left) and others addressing a press conference in Amritsar on Wednesday.
Haryana finance minister Captain Abhimanyu (Centre), BJP Punjab president Shwait Malik (left) and others addressing a press conference in Amritsar on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
         

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Punjab election in-charge and Haryana finance minister Captain Abhimanyu on Wednesday hinted at seeking votes from the Dera Sacha Sauda followers in the state.

This comes even as the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, has asked all Sikhs not to seek votes from the sect headquartered at Sirsa in Haryana.

In Amritsar to inaugurate the party election office, Abhimanyu, replying to a media query whether the BJP will seek votes from the dera followers like it did in Haryana, said, “We will seek votes from every household in Punjab. Even if a voter is a Congress supporter, we will go to their house.”

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on April 11 had said that in the Lok Sabha elections he was hopeful of support from the dera whose controversial head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is serving 20-year jail term after he was convicted of raping two female disciples in August 2017. He was excommunicated from the Sikh ‘Panth’ by the Takht in 2007 after a row over a blasphemy case.

BJP’s alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has already made it clear that it will not seek dera votes following the Akal Takht’s direction.

Punjab BJP chief Shwait Malik, who accompanied Abhimanyu, said, “We will seek votes from every section and voter in Punjab.”

Abhimanyu said the SAD-BJP alliance will win all the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab as a Modi wave was sweeping the country. “People of Punjab are disillusioned with the Congress government which has failed to mitigate the sufferings and hardships of all sections of society and has undone what the SAD-BJP government under Parkash Singh Badal had achieved,” he claimed.

“Punjabis have always been patriotic people and stood by those who can protect the nation and make it stronger. This time too they will stand by the SAD-BJP as the nation has emerged stronger under Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he added.

“The BJP is a nationalist party while the Congress’ policies in the past have only given rise to anti national forces,” he said.

Malik said, “The election office in Amritsar has been set up to control the poll campaign in Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Hoshiarpur seats. Two sub-election offices will be inaugurated — one in Pathankot district (which is part of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha segment) and another in Hoshiarpur.”