Nothing wrong in seeking votes from sects: Amarinder

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Old 15-May-2011
Nothing wrong in seeking votes from sects: Amarinder

Ludhiana May 15:

Amrinder Singh, Congress state unit chief and former Punjab chief minister, said there was nothing wrong in meeting leaders and heads of various 'deras' (religious sects) or seeking their votes.

Talking to reporters here, Amarinder Singh said: "The Congress, being a secular party, does not differentiate between people on the basis of religion or a sect as everyone was held in equal regard and respect." "I try to meet everyone. It is a matter of respect. What is wrong in it?" he said.

He pointed out that the Indian constitution did not prevent seeking votes from religious leaders or sect heads.

"They are as much a part of our system as anyone else and they have an equal right to vote," he added. Hitting out at the Akali Dal leadership, Amarinder Singh said they had been misusing the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) funds. "They have no locus standi to question us. We go according to the constitution while they misuse SGPC for everything in organising political rallies and other things," he added.

Elections to the 117-member Punjab assembly are scheduled February-March next year. Punjab and neighbouring Haryana have several deras which have millions of followers. These include the Radha Soami sect, the Namdhari sect, the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda and others.

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