Sirsa:  Sikh sect Dera Sacha Saudu, which had backed the Congress in last assembly elections in Punjab, has remained tightlipped till now on supporting any party in the January 30 polls.

While candidates of all prominent political parties in fray in Punjab polls have made a beeline to its doorsteps during past few days, the Political Wing of the sect, which has considerable following among Dalit Sikhs, has left everybody guessing about its strategy.

According to Dera sources, over 250 contestants including Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh, his wife and Union Minister Preneet Kaur, several candidates from ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, besides PPP visited the Dera premises here and "sought blessings" from Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh during past two weeks.

While the Dera Chief himself maintained that politics should be left to political parties and the Dera merely wanted that people with clean image should be elected, the political wing is understood to have been discussions with Dera followers converging here from various parts of Punjab.

Initially the decision on whom to support was to be taken on January 22 but it was postponed for January 27 in view of the fact as there was no unanimity among followers.

While nobody from among the spokespersons of the Dera or members of political wing was available for comment, sources claimed that no formal announcement with regard to support to candidates or parties would be made this time.

The Dera had extended support to the Congress in the last assembly polls in 2007.

The Dera chief, who is embroiled in a number of cases, had courted controversy in May 2007 after a section of the community objected to his dressing like a Sikh Guru which led to bloody clashes between the Sikh hardliners and Dera supporters.

(Agencies)