Amid depleting clout,dera chief’s kin loses

The defeat of the Congress candidate from Bathinda Urban,Harminder Singh Jassi,at the hands of SAD candidate and businessman Sarup Chand Singla appears to be a signal of the downfall of the political might of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Amritsar | Published: March 7, 2012 3:49:25 am

The defeat of the Congress candidate from Bathinda Urban,Harminder Singh Jassi,at the hands of SAD candidate and businessman Sarup Chand Singla appears to be a signal of the downfall of the political might of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda.

Jassi’s daughter is married to the son of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh,the controversial chief of Dera Sacha Sauda.

The dera was seen as a major force in Punjab polls after it helped the Congress take control of the Malwa belt in the 2007 Punjab polls by openly supporting the party.

The results in the same Malwa belt this time,however,indicate there was almost no dera factor. The reports of “dera leaving supporters to decide for themselves” or “going the Congress way once again” notwithstanding,if the defeat of Jassi is any indication,the dera appears to be losing political ground.

In fact,there is talk that with the Congress trying to project dera as its supporter in the Punjab polls,a dedicated vote bank of Sikhs got created that wanted to nullify its effect in Punjab polls. The dedicated Sikh vote bank is believed to have voted for the SAD-BJP combine,less due to their liking towards the combine and more to assert that a united vote bank of Sikhs can overshadow the political clout of dera.

Ever since the dera chief was alleged to have imitated Guru Gobind Singh in a ceremony akin to creation of the Khalsa in 2007 soon after the Punjab poll results were declared,which subsequently led to widespread violence,the Sikhs have been up in arms against Dera Sacha Sauda and its chief.

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