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28 Aug 2017

Who will succeed Ram Rahim Singh as Dera chief?

The next Dera Sacha Sauda chief

With Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's 10-years imprisonment, the question now turns to who will lead the sect that claims the loyalty of over five crore devotees globally.

A favorite is Honeypreet Insan, Singh's adopted daughter. She says she is "passionate to transform my Rockstar Papa's directions into actions".

But there are other contenders too. Here's a list of the probable candidates.

In context

The next Dera Sacha Sauda chief
Honeypreet, "Papa's Angel", has over 1.5mn followers online


Honeypreet, "Papa's Angel", has over 1.5mn followers online

Honeypreet, whose real name is Priyanka Taneja, was adopted by Ram Rahim in 2009.

Her former husband Vishwas Gupta accused Ram Rahim of sexually exploiting Honeypreet, but withdrew it later on the basis of an out-of-court settlement.

Just like her stepfather, Dera followers consider Honeypreet a "prodigy" of sorts.

Reportedly, her influence was such that people took her word to be Ram Rahim's decisions.


Ram Rahim's daughters are married, but he has a son

There's no dynastic succession in the Dera, but Ram Rahim has a son, Jasmeet. Jasmeet, who's married to Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi's daughter, runs a business.

Some reports say he was declared the heir in 2007.

However, what might work against him is his lack of visibility in the Dera. He might have difficulty in inspiring a following as large as his father's.

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The second-in-command of the Dera

Brahmachari Vipassana

The second-in-command of the Dera

Then there's Guru Brahmachari Vipassana. The 35-year-old follower is the second-in-command in the sect. She's the only one authorized to take a call on things on his behalf.

Vipassana, who has graduated from the girls' college run by the Dera, is the head of the Dera's 250-member management team.

She has been active in various programs of the Dera.


A group so large can't function without a chief

This seems like the end of Ram Rahim's tenure at the Dera, but a sect as large as this needs someone at the head.

It also owns massive properties, the details of which were removed from its site after an HC demanded compensation for damages in the Haryana violence.

For now, someone might look after operations till Ram Rahim decides on a successor.

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