Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh, on Sunday met the chief of the influential Radha Soami sect and is understood to have sought his “blessings” for the upcoming Assembly polls in the state. The Congress Vice President also attended the ‘satsang’ (religious discourse) by sect leader Baba Gurinder Singh Dhillon at the sect headquarter at Beas, nearly 45 kilometres away from Amritsar.
Rahul had arrived on a chartered flight from Bangalore and landed at the private airstrip at the sect headquarters last evening.
Watch what else is in the news
Both Rahul and Amarinder went to the residence of Dhillon where they discussed various political issues related to the coming Assembly election, party sources said, adding the meeting lasted about an hour.
Rahul sought Dhillon’s “blessings” for Congress party to form government in Punjab for the “larger interest of the state”, party sources said.
Punjab Assembly elections, slated for early next year, are crucial for Congress, which has been out of power in the state for the last ten years.
Earlier, Rahul and Amarinder sat at the ‘satsang’ for one and half hours in the VVIP corridor of front row. A few SPG men also remained present but they were not allowed to carry weapons, since security cover was provided by the Dera management, the sources said.
The two Congress leaders were driver around the sect’s facility by Dhillon himself. The sect chief also showed the ‘langar’ area (community kitchen) where food for one lakh or more devotees is cooked on special days.
Rahul praised Dhillon for developing the Dera and also appreciated the traffic management by the sect volunteers during the congregation, party sources said.
It was the second visit of Rahul at Beas, as earlier he had come in March this year. His mother Sonia Gandhi has also visited the Dera.
Dera Beas has never involved itself directly in politics, though it is believed to be having influence over a section of voters.