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RaisinaExplainer: What politics has to do with release of Dera Sacha Sauda head on parole

by | Oct 22, 2022 | India

New Delhi, October 21 : While BJP leaders assert that the release on parole of Gurmeet Ram Rahim – controversial chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect – is unrelated to politics; the developments seem to indicate otherwise. Haryana BJP leaders have been trooping in to join the online “satsang”programs launched by the Baba after […]

New Delhi, October 21 : While BJP leaders assert that the release on parole of Gurmeet Ram Rahim – controversial chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect – is unrelated to politics; the developments seem to indicate otherwise.

Haryana BJP leaders have been trooping in to join the online “satsang”programs launched by the Baba after his October 15 release. During the period of Ram Rahim’s 40 day parole, important political activities will happen: The significant by-elections to the Adampur assembly seat; the conduct of the Panchayat elections in Haryana and the completion of the polling process for the Himachal assembly elections. The Baba – convicted for raping two female disciples and murder of a journalist -has substantial following in the poll bound hill state.
Haryana BJP leaders who have sought Baba’s blessings include state assembly deputy speaker Ranbir Gangwa and Karnal Mayor Renu Bala Gupta. Gangwa has defended himself saying it’s a matter of faith for him as his family follows Ram Rahim’s Dera for many decades.

Karnal is the constituency of Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who termed the Dera chief’s release on parole as a “routine procedure” and the “legitimate right of a convict”. Haryana Prisons Minister Ranjit Singh forwarded similar arguments.
Significantly, this is the third time this year that the Baba is out of jail: Twice on parole and once on furlough. The previous occasions in 2022 when the Baba was granted parole coincided with elections:The assembly elections in Punjab And the crucial elections to 46 municipalities in Haryana in June.
Baba Ram Rahim’s preferences with political parties have shifted. In the 2007 assembly elections in Punjab, the Baba had backed the Congress. In the October 2014 elections, the Baba had called upon his followers to vote for the BJP. On innumerable instances, leaders of political parties have sought the Baba’s blessings either for themselves or for their political parties. Despite his 20 year conviction, the Baba continues to remain a sought after commodity among political leaders.

Srinanda Jha
Srinand Jha
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Journalist by accident, rail, travel and political buff by choice - dissenter by compulsion. Interested in policy and governance.