“Within a fortnight of his much hyped visit, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener is visiting Punjab again. Eyeing ‘Dalit’ vote bank in state, this time he is nurturing a dual-objective of luring ‘Dera’ voters and dubious aim of high jacking identity of ‘Dalit’ icon.”
Punjab has presence of many small and big religious sects and many self-proclaimed God-men have formed their own religious conglomerate, which are popularly known as ‘Deras’. Dera Sachkhand at Ballan village of Jullandhar district is one of the prominent deras of Punjab and eyeing upcoming assembly elections Kejriwal is visiting the dera of March 15th.
Contradictory moral stand
Kejriwal’s move to visit the ‘dera’ is in contradiction to the “moral stand” of the party against the proliferation of ‘deras’ in Punjab. It is pertinent to mention here that during his previous tour to Punjab in February, Kejriwal went on record to state that his party was beyond the politics of religion and caste. And, he further added the party is against the proliferation of ‘deras’ in state and now in against party’s stand, he is now seeking the blessing of ‘dera’ head.
Move to woo Dalit vote bank
Punjab has 32% dalit voters in state, which is highest in the country. The dera in question has a strong sway among the Dalits across Punjab especially in Doaba region. Seeing big opportunity Kejriwal is trying to woo it to tilt political equations in his party’s favour.
Conflicting views in party
Aam Aadmi Party always maintained a stand that the party is beyond caste and religion and it doesn’t it wanted to stay away from deras of state. As the party doesn’t any base in the state, it realized it later that dera factor might prove a saving ground for them.
The move is yet another effort by the AAP to woo Dalits. AAP supremo would also be visiting the Dalit icon Kanshi Ram’s birthplace in Hoshiarpur district. Perhaps they have realized it well that politics is not possible for them without playing the dalit card.