As the focus shifts to the successor of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda after its head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction in a rape case, all eyes in Punjab are on Congress ex-MLA Harminder Singh Jassi, whose daughter is married to dera head’s son. Jassi’s son-in-law, Jasmeet Singh Insaan, was announced dera successor to take over in his father’s absence by Ram Rahim in 2007 when rape charges were framed against him.
Ten years later, not only Jasmeet, but dera head’s adopted daughter Honeypreet Kaur and another chairperson of Dera Sacha Sauda Trust, Vipassana, are claimants in the succession war.
Sources close to Jassi claim that his son-in-law was internally announced as the successor by Ram Rahim’s mother Naseeb Kaur. The news was broken to Jassi’s friends in Congress. They said Naseeb Kaur held an internal meeting of dera office-bearers Monday and reminded them that Jasmeet was anointed the successor by none other than his father and that they should all consider him as the manager of the dera now. A formal announcement is expected shortly.
Jassi’s daughter was married to Ram Rahim’s son in early 2000s. He was elected MLA thrice, from Talwandi Sabo in 1992 and 1997 and from Bathinda in 2007. Dera is often held instrumental in his victories. But he could not win Assembly election from Maur this time despite an attempt on his life in a bomb blast. The party was expecting sympathy votes to help him.
Ever since his relationship with the dera began, Jassi is not left with many friends in the Congress and is often accused of keeping to himself. A number of Congress MLAs from Malwa, a region where dera holds influence, were called by the dera head on January 27, often referred to as a day of humiliation by the MLAs. They were called to the dera but were not promised any support. Later, the support was promised for Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).