Top netas won’t shy away from seeking Dera votes

Manohar Lal Khattar or Haryana state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, the message is loud and clear: seek Dera support as every vote matters. 

It's poll time and the infamous Dera Sacha Sauda — whose chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is undergoing imprisonment for life in a Haryana jail for rape and murder — is no longer a forbidden territory for politicians.

Be it Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar or Haryana state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, the message is loud and clear: seek Dera support as every vote matters. 

The two politicians leading the two main parties in Haryana do not appear to be burdened by the fact that the Dera still remains represented by a man convicted for the rape of two of his woman disciples and later for neutralising a journalist who exposed him in his publication, Poora Sach

Tanwar, a candidate from Sirsa constituency, which is also the headquarters of the Dera, even attended the sect's congregation in Fatehabad to seek votes. 

A few days ago, Khattar had maintained there was nothing wrong in seeking votes from the sect as it was the ‘right of a political party to seek votes.’ 

But the sprouting of leaders showing affection, rather reverence, towards the infamous sect was expected in election season. 

Even as the sect chief and his top functionaries are either in jail or absconding, the Dera political wing has become active once again this poll season, after remaining in hibernation since August 2017 when Gurmeet Ram Rahim was convicted. 

Many of the netas chose to stay aloof from the Dera for the past two years avoiding any controversy. They now appear to have woken up, sensing that the sect, or whatever remains of it, still holds sway in many parts of Punjab and Haryana.

Certain Punjab ministers too have said they are not averse to seeking sect votes. However, in the wake of a diktat by the Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of Sikhism, the SAD (Badal) has clarified that it would not seek Dera votes.

The Dera is gearing up for a big event on its foundation day later this month and a greater number of politicians are expected to mark their presence.

The Dera reportedly had been a den of unscrupulous activities and ignoble acts for years under Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Much of it remained camouflaged under a veil of numerous social service initiatives that were designed to present the sect in a good light.

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Top netas won’t shy away from seeking Dera votes

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