Moga: Numerous followers of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda and Dera Beas are likely to play a significant role in the outcome of the February 23 bypoll here.
The sects have a considerable number of disciples in both urban as well as rural areas of Moga assembly segment, officials said here.
The Dera Beas followers are around 3,000 while Sacha Sauda (a sect headed by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh) has a backing of around 4,500 disciples.
During the last hustings, the Dera Beas followers had inclined towards Congress, but now things have changed after the Shiromani Akali Dal extended help to Dera Beas over the alleged demolition of Sikh shrine in Waraich village in Tarn Taran district of Punjab.
Congress is trying its best to win over the Deras and both Congress president Amamrinder Singh and party candidate Vijay Kumar Sathi are planning to visit Dera headquarters at Beas in a day or two, party sources said here.
Meanwhile, SAD candidate Joginder Pal Jain is sure of support from both the Deras, as they had openly supported him in the last assembly elections.
The political affairs committee of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda has started dialogue with the local committee and a final decision will be taken only three days before the elections, Dera sources said.
The Dera Beas and Sacha Sauda have their support base amongst the poor and Dalits.