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India Dera Support To Count In Punjab

Jan 7, 2005
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Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
January 18, 2012 23:40 IST | Updated: January 18, 2012 23:42 IST

Dera support to count in Punjab

State has nearly 300 religious sects which command a large following

As Punjab prepares for the January 30 elections for the 117 seats in the State legislature, the role of religious sects or ‘deras' assume importance for the candidates who seek the support of religious leaders to bolster their electoral fortunes.

Punjab has nearly 300 major deras across the State, as well as in neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan. Political observers say that most of the deras command a substantial following and any political party or candidate who manages to get the support of a dera stands an excellent chance of securing a good number of votes. Some deras are open about their political leanings, while others prefer not to come out directly in support of any particular party or candidate. The deras of Dalit communities also have a large following in Punjab.

The controversial Dera Sacha Sauda, which is headquartered in Sirsa (Haryana), enjoys a large following in the Malwa region of Punjab and parts of Haryana. The region lies between the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. The Malwa area makes up a majority of Punjab, consisting of 11 districts. Cities like Ludhiana, Patiala, Bhatinda and Mohali are all located in the Malwa region.

During the Assembly elections in 2007, the dera factor played a crucial role in the Congress winning a good number of seats in the Malwa region. However, this time around, going by the recent utterances of the deras' political wing members, they are still to make up their mind to support just one political party.

Indications are that Dera Sacha Sauda may opt for a please-all formula by giving its ‘blessings' to more than one political party in the coming elections. Though the Maharaj (dera head, Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh) is a close relative of Bathinda MLA Harminder Singh Jassi of the Congress, the political wing of the dera has sought the opinion of its members in all districts and blocks across the State to take a decision over the issue of lending support to one or more political parties.

According to Ram Singh, a member of the dera's political affairs wing, the decision would be taken unanimously after getting their opinion.

The Dera Sacha Sauda has a seven-member political wing which goes through the opinion of its members and takes a decision which is conveyed to the followers of the dera.

Political observers say that Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh and People's Party of Punjab (PPP) chief Manpreet Singh Badal, who broke away from the Badal clan, have already met the Dera Sacha Sauda chief.

In the recent past, the dera has found itself involved in unsavoury controversies. Punjab had also witnessed communal violence between the dera followers and Sikhs.

source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article2811422.ece
 
May 24, 2008
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ECONOMICS OF THE DERAS :
I wish to clear some plain facts about the mushrooming growth of Deras especially in Punjab . The mother of this is elecoral politics . It is a known fact that in Indian elections votes r sold at a price to political parties , however the exact modus operandi is unclear to many . This is how it works :
There r following political elections held in all states but rates mentioned r specific to Punjab only ; 1. Panchayat Elections , Rate per vote is 5000- 7000 Indian rupees for election of Panches , a furthur expense of 1000/ per vote is incurred to buy Panches for election of the Sarpanch . 2 Block Samiti Elections : Rate per vote is 1000-2000 , liquor bottles , Poppy husk & few hunderes rupees do the trick 3 . Muncipal Committee Elections : Rate is again 1000 - 2000 per vote , same means r used for diostribution 4 . Muncipal Corporation Elections ( For Big Cities ) : Rate is 2000-2500 per vote for electing councillors , a furthur expense of 500 is made for electing Mayor . 5 . Lok Sabha Elections : Rate is 1000-2000 per vote . 6 . Assembly Elections : This is the mother of all elections . Rate is 6000- 8000 per vote , morover the winner takes the all important Chief Minister Ship chair . So in total a vote costs ( Earns ) Rs 16,000 - 25000 ( 400 USD to 625 USD ) in all 5 years . All the Deras , all they have to do is to invite some political leader to some big SATSANG & that political leader pays his RESPECTS to Dera Chief in front of DEVOTEES The leader gets the unusual big crowd , the public gets to see the amount of CLOUT OF BABAJI & to top it all the BABAJI gets his DUE SHARE proportionately . Each vote multiplied by 16,000 to 25,000 Rupees . This BOOTY is in the form of CASH & KIND like land allotment , posting of police officers teachers , health workers , transfers of various officials to PLUM places . Some months back Radha Soami Satsang Beas came to light when they GRABBED a prime real eastate land in Mohali worth about 2800 - 3,000 Crores ( 700 Million USD ) in Mohali for peanuts . The ruckus in press & media forced them to forego 50 % of that land . Still they got to keep land woth 350 Million US Dollars . The Sacha Sauda DeraChief had his Brother In Law ( Harminder Singh Jassi ) a Congress Ticket from Bhatinda superseding Surinder Singla & a promise of withdrawl of CBI enquiry against him various cases of rape , Murdur etc . In 2002 Sonia Gandhi visited RSS Beas just before elections at Beas headquarter & spent a full day there to inagaurate an EYE DONATION CAMP alonwith Natwar Singh , Amarinder Singh , Murli Deora among others . On 30th March , 2008 , LK Advani visited Maharaj Gurinder Singh , Dera head at RSS , Beas . According to known eyewitnesses , the Baba saluted Advani while greeting him . The Akais r also playing this game of FAITH & POLITICS albiet differently . The so called Panthic Party SAD ( Badal ) has a SECULAR CONSTITUTION under which it fights SGPC elections . It treats Sikh votes under the influence of Gurudwaras as a free BONUS VOTE , Ghar di murgi dal barabar . But spends the same rate to get votes from Deras as Congress or now new player in the game BJP . As aresult Deras r wooed by all parties & Deras r rolling in money but traditional Sikh Voter is left high & dry . Gurudwaras get nothing in return , SGPC budget is spent on election rallies & horse trading of SAD ( Badal ) . The preaching of Sikhism is left to Non- Government institutions like Sikh Missionary College , Ludhiana & Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle , Ludhiana . They r not at all helped by Akalis or SGPC financially ., rather hurdles r put in their way . Gurudwaras r controlled by Jats , Dalits r discriminated against in villages . As a result nobody is willing to take the issues of Sikhs , Dera supporters r active in almost every sphere be it Panchayats , Corporations .Some serious introspection is required for revival of Sikhism & slow down this Mushrooming Deras in Punjab
 

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