Akali leader Manjinder Sirsa joins BJP ahead of Punjab polls



NEW DELHI: Shiromani Akali Dal leader and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa joined the BJP here on Wednesday ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab.

He joined the BJP in the presence of senior party leaders and Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

After the joining ceremony at the BJP headquarters, Sirsa met Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J P Nadda.

The presence of both Shah and Nadda to welcome him underscored the significance the party has attached to him.

“I am sure his experience and hard work will further strengthen the BJP,” said Nadda.

Shekhawat, who is the BJP’s in-charge for Punjab assembly polls, said Sirsa’s induction will definitely be helpful for it in the state elections, due early next year.

Sirsa has been a prominent face of the Akali Dal in the national capital and was a strong supporter of the farmers’ protests against the three contentious farm laws.

Parliament recently passed a bill to annul the three laws in what has been seen as the BJP’s effort to placate the protesting farmers, a large number of whom are Sikhs from Punjab.

After joining the party, Sirsa told the media, “I have always raised my voice for the issues related to Sikhs. I had a chat with Home Minister Amit Shah ji with regard to issues concerning Sikhs across the country. I am happy that not only did he talk to me but said that he wants to solve these issues and will raise them with the Prime Minister as well.”

Pradhan said the BJP will be strengthened with Sirsa’s induction and added that he had quit his position in the DSGMC before joining the party.

Before joining the BJP, Sirsa in a tweet announced his resignation from the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

“With gratitude to all office bearers, members, staff and people who worked with me; I am resigning from Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee as President.

I will not contest upcoming DSGMC internal elections.

My commitment to serve my community, humanity & nation remains same,” Sirsa tweeted.

“I am joining the BJP for my community and for resolving its longstanding issues of last 70 years. I am confident all those issues will be very soon resolved. I will fight for causes of my community,” Sirsa said.

Sirsa was considered a close aide of SAD chief Sukhbir Badal and was one of the party’s most visible faces when it came to Sikh religion related issues.

He was at the forefront of arranging logistics for the protesting farmers at the borders of the national capital.

Under his leadership, the DSGMC was running Langar Sewa at the protesting sites.

His joining the BJP and the party’s expected alliance with former chief minister Amarinder Singh could brighten the saffron party’s prospects in Punjab where it was being seen to be on backfoot following the year-long protests by farmers.

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