In bad news for the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, some of their leaders jumped ship to the BJP on Saturday. Former ministers Raj Kumar Verka, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Sunder Sham Arora and Gurpreet Singh Kangar from the grand old party as well as ex-Congress MLA from Barnala Kewal Dhillon joined the saffron party. Former Akali MLAs Sarup Chand Singla and Mohinder Kaur Josh also joined the BJP.
BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa tweeted pictures from the joining and said, “BJP Punjab growing and strengthening everyday @BJP4Punjab @gssjodhpur @sunilkjakhar @dushyanttgautam @arvindkhannaoff”
— Manjinder Singh Sirsa (@mssirsa) June 4, 2022
Former Congress veteran Sunil Jakhar, who recently joined the BJP, was also standing alongside the new entrants. Union ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Som Parkash, as well as Punjab unit chief Ashwani Sharma were also present.
Balbir Sidhu is a three-time MLA from Mohali, and he was the health minister in the previous Congress-led cabinet. Kangar, a three-time MLA from Rampura Phul, was the revenue minister. Prominent Dalit leader Verka from Majha region is also a three-time legislator and was the social justice and minorities minister. Former Hoshiarpur MLA Arora, meanwhile, was the industry and commerce minister.
All the four former ministers from the Congress lost the recently held Punjab assembly elections. Union home minister Amit Shah was in Chandigarh for a meeting. He not only inaugurated the Khelo India Youth Games in Haryana’s Panchkula but also met state BJP leaders.
Captain Amarinder Singh, who resigned from the post of chief minister last year, congratulated those who joined the BJP. He said this was only the “tip of the iceberg”.
He tweeted: “My best wishes to Balbir S. Sidhu, Gurpreet S. Kangar, Dr Raj Kumar Verka, Sunder Sham Arora and Kewal Singh Dhillon for taking a step in the right direction and joining @BJP4India today. This is just the tip of the iceberg!”
My best wishes to Balbir S. Sidhu, Gurpreet S. Kangar, Dr Raj Kumar Verka, Sunder Sham Arora and Kewal Singh Dhillon for taking a step in the right direction and joining @BJP4India today.
This is just the tip of the iceberg!
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) June 4, 2022
Blaming the Gandhis for the fate of the Congress in elections, the former CM had formed his own party, Punjab Lok Congress, after his ouster.
(With PTI inputs)