Saffron party turns to deras

Vishav Bharti

Chandigarh, February 18

The BJP, facing hostility till recently in Punjab, pushed its entire might, be it RSS cadre, CMs of neighbouring states, Union Ministers and support from some of the biggest deras, into its campaign.

The party, which is contesting 65 seats as part of alliance with the Punjab Lok Congress and SAD (Sanyukt), is pulling out all the stops to make its presence felt in the elections. Apart from four rallies of PM Narendra Modi, 12 Union Ministers, two CMs and several ministers and leaders from the neighbouring states were pushed into the campaign.

In the last leg of campaign, PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were seen making rounds of various deras. Their meeting with Baba Gurinder Singh of Radha Soami Satsang Beas and release of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on furlough on the eve of elections is being seen with much curiosity. Insiders say the party wants only passive vote of deras to avoid annoying Sikhs.

However, its biggest strength remains the RSS cadre, which has been even brought from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan to manage elections at the booth level. In the past few weeks, the entire control of campaigning was taken over by the RSS, which for the past two months has been taking daily ground reports from the cadre.

The bigger game seems to be unfolding for the saffron party, which had been contesting just 23 seats as a junior partner to SAD for two and half decades. The BJP and RSS have been able to activate their cadre for the future. The political observers say the party is preparing ground for 2027. “We got tremendous response. The results will be surprising this time,” says Subhash Sharma, BJP’s state general secretary.

Saffron party turns to deras