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Election Commission defers Punjab Assembly polls

Tags: National News

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on 17 January 2022 postponed polling for the Punjab Assembly election from February 14 to 20 after the State government and political parties raised concern that many devotees would be in Varanasi to celebrate Guru Ravidas’s birth anniversary on February 16 and miss out on voting.

  • Punjab has a substantial population of followers of Guru Ravidas, including the Scheduled Caste community, which is around 32 per cent of the state’s population.
  • Counting would, however, take place on March 10, as in the schedule announced on January 8 2022.

Guru Ravidas 

Ravidas is a 15th-century poet, saint and philosopher, who founded the Ravidassia religion. It has a  large following among dalits in Punjab who consider Sant Ravidas as their Guru and some of his sayings has been included in the  Sikh holy book “ Guru Granth Sahib”.

  • The birthday of Ravidasji  is on 16 February 2022 and lakhs of devotees are expected to visit his birthplace Varanasi . Many of them take a special train organised by the Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar.
  • The Dera Sachkhand Ballan is the Ravidassias' largest dera with around 20 lakh followers worldwide. Of these, around 15 lakh live in Punjab in the Doaba region. The region has 23 out of the total 117 Assembly seats in the state.

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