Talking to reporters before leaving for Patiala, state Congress President and former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh claimed that Haryana's Sirsa headquartered-sect Dera Sacha Sauda was supporting his party.
 
"The Dera is supporting Congress. The message (from the Dera) has reached the premis (followers) and they are supporting Congress. This was expected the way Akalis had treated the Dera followers," he said.

Dera sources have, meanwhile, maintained that no formal announcement with regards to support to candidates or parties was made and the message to the grass root Dera followers is delivered through its own internal information mechanism making it hard for the outsiders to comprehend the same.

Despite open support from Dera and its spiritual leader Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan for Congress in 2007 assembly elections, Congress lost the elections in Punjab.

JPN/Agencies