How Bhagat Community can play a deciding factor in the Jalandhar West Bye Election?

The Ravidasiya & Bhagat communities are the two largest SC communities settled in the Jalandhar West constituency and likely seal the fate of the winning candidate.

Punjab, Bhagat Community, Jalandhar West Bye Election, Bhagat Community Jalandhar West, Bhagat Community Jalandhar History, Bhagat Community Jalandhar West Candidate, Bhagat Community Support Jalandhar West Bypolls- True Scoop

With a few days to go for the Jalandhar West Bye Election, political parties are leaving no stone unturned to woo the voters. Votings for Jalandhar West Bye Election 2024 will take place on July 10 and for that political parties have already announced their candidates. AAP has fielded Mohinder Bhagat, BJP has fielded Sheetal Angural, SAD has fielded Surjit Kaur, and the Congress has fielded Surinder Kaur. Every party in their own are coming up with its own idea to woo voters, but it is AAP that is enjoying an edge in the upcoming polls. While there are multiple factors like Mann's shifting to Jalandhar, his wife & sister actively participating in Janata Darbar, what may be the most fruit for AAP is its candidate Mohinder Bhagat. 

As per reports, the Ravidasiya & Bhagat communities are the two largest SC communities settled in the Jalandhar West constituency. Congress has always fielded a candidate from the Ravidasiya community. In fact, its senior leaders like Darshan Kaypayee and his son Mohinder Kaypee have won from the same seat in the past. For the 2024 bye polls, Congress has again fielded a candidate belonging to the Ravidasiya community- Surinder Kaur.  

However, Aam Aadmi Party led by Bhagwant Mann has backed Mohinder Bhagat who hails from the Bhagat community. Before AAP, it was the BJP that politically empowered the Bhagat community. As a result, by fielding Mohinder Bhagat AAP is looking to dent BJP's vote back in Jalandhar West constituency. 

Bhagat Community's History & current Relevance

 The Bhagat community reportedly settled down in Jalandhar after Partition. The community has changed their political as well as religious inclination. Originally known as Megh caste, the Bhagat community reportedly migrated from Sialkot during Partition. Primarily a weaver’s community, Bhagats switched to sports goods manufacturing in a big way in Sialkot and brought the craft to Jalandhar.

Historically, the community supported the Congress party when the BJP won their trust. Talking about religious belief, the Bhagat community largely followed Arya Samaj. However,  in the last few decades, a major part of the community has started following Bhagat Kabir. A comparatively smaller number of people now come to Arya Samaj temples. 

A former senior medical officer who remained president of Arya Samaj temple, Garha, was quoted by a news portal saying that over the last three decades transformation started and people's inclination shifted more towards becoming Kabir panthi. 

Not only this mixed practices were also being followed in the community, as marriage and death ceremonies even in families following Bhagat Kabir were still held according to Arya Samaj rituals.

Mohinder Bhagat & the Bhagat community

For the unversed, AAP's Jalandhar West Bye Election candidate, Mohinder Bhagat's father Chunni Lal reportedly was the first sports industry entrepreneur from the community after working as an employee at a sports goods manufacturing unit. Mohinder Bhagat's father was one of the first few members of the community to join Jan Sangh, the earlier avatar of BJP.

Chunni Lal reportedly faced boycott calls for joining the Jan Sangh. However, what happened next was BJP's consolidation in the Bhagat community. 

For example, Chunni Lal remained in several organisational posts in the BJP. In 1997, he was pushed into an electoral battle as he got the party ticket to contest the assembly election from the Jalandhar South constituency and won. Later Chunni Lal became a prominent Dalit face for the BJP.

Therefore, if the Bhagat community go with Mohinder Bhagat, then AAP will undoubtedly enjoy a massive edge in the Jalandhar West Bye Election.