Tuesday 28 June 2022
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Sunil Jakhar joins BJP days after leaving INC

Addressing reporters after joining the BJP, Jakhar lashed out at the INC, accusing it of insulting the spirit of brotherhood in Punjab by trying to divide the state

Former Punjab Congress chief joined the BJP today, thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accepting him into the party fold. A prominent leader in Punjab, Jakhar joined the BJP in the presence of party president JP Nadda days after he quit the vestige of the country’s oldest party with a “good luck and goodbye” message.

Addressing reporters after joining the BJP, Jakhar lashed out at the INC, accusing it of insulting the spirit of brotherhood in Punjab by trying to divide the state in terms of percentages of castes, communities and religion. “I had to leave after I was put in the dock for asserting that Punjab cannot be divided,” Jakhar (68) said, in an apparent reference to the INC’s projection of Charanjit Singh Channi as the first Dalit chief minister of Punjab.

“Three generations of my family served the INC party over the last 50 years. Today, I have broken the 50-year-old tie with the party over issues of nationalism, unity and brotherhood in Punjab,” Jakhar said at the BJP headquarters. He said he had to leave the INC as he was questioned for raising issues against divisive politics. “When a party deviates from its values and principles, it is ideal to quit it,” said Jakhar.

“There were some fundamental issues. There was no personal dispute. The dispute was regarding and the integrity of Punjab. The harmony of the state which could not be broken by bullets of AK-47 rifles,” he said.

Jakhar was the frontrunner for the of Punjab chief minister last year when Congress replaced Amarinder Singh with Channi. However, a section of the INC leadership had opposed Jakhar, a Hindu, contending that only a Sikh can be the chief minister of Punjab.

Jakhar was removed from all party posts by Punjab Congress following allegations of anti-party activities by a section of party leaders in Punjab.

Jakhar quit the INC last week after lashing out at Channi on Twitter, saying that he was “not an asset” as portrayed by the party leadership. Before quitting, he had also criticised veteran Congress leader Ambika Soni for her statement on the “repercussions of having a Hindu chief minister in Punjab”.
‘Channi an asset, are you joking?’ Jakhar hits out after Cong’s Punjab poll debacle

Jakhar also held Soni’s statement as one of the reasons for the INC’ drubbing in the Punjab assembly polls earlier this year.

Jakhar will have ‘big role in BJP’: Nadda

“I welcome to Bharatiya Janata Party. He is an experienced political leader who made a name for himself during his political career. I am confident he will play a big role in strengthening the party in Punjab,” Nadda said after welcoming Jakhar to the party.

The BJP head noted that Punjab was a border state and “nationalist” leaders like Jakhar were welcome to his party. “There are issues in Punjab which are detrimental to security in the border state and to defeat such forces leaders with a strong in are welcome,” Nadda added.

While the INC has lost a prominent Hindu leader in Punjab with Jakhar’s exit, his inclusion may help the BJP in increasing its footprint in the border state, where the saffron party had been a fringe player and contested elections mostly in alliance with the Akali Dal.

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