In an apparent move to garner support for the upcoming assembly elections, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal attended the satsang of Dera Beas chief Gurinder Singh Dhillon in Jalalabad on Wednesday. The move is also being seen as a bid to send a political message to AAP, from where it has announced Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann as party candidate.
The support of deras which weild influence on sizeable population is believed to play an important role in the assembly polls. SAD has already named Kabir Dass and Satpal Mal, considered to be the ardent supporters of Dera Sachkhand, as party candidate from Nabha and Kartarpur, respectively. The duo had recently quit Congress to join SAD.
After winding up his Sangat Darshan programmes, Sukhbir, who is also a legislator from Jalalabad, went to attend the satsang of the Dera chief and stayed there till the event ended.
The Deputy Chief Minister was accomapanied by Akali cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
Interestingly, Majithia is married to Ganeive Grewal, a close relative of the Dera head. The cabinet minister also doled out grants to the tune of nearly Rs 6 crore for various development works.
Before sitting through the satsang, Sukhbir and Majithia also held a brief meeting with the Dera chief.
On October 28, SAD-BJP government appointed Parminder Singh Sekhon, whose sister is married to Dhillon, as advisor to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the rank of cabinet minister.
Akali cabinet minister and SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema termed the visit of Sukhbir and Majithia to satsang as “personal” and said “it has nothing to do with politics”.
Jalalabad appears heading for a clash of titans even as Sukhbir has predicted that Mann will end up forfeiting his security deposit with the Sangrur MP hitting back at Sukhbir saying that his candidature was not being announced as he wanted to “run away” from Jalalabad.
The Akali leadership,however, denied that Sukhbir was running away from Jalalabad.