In a setback to the Opposition Congress in Punjab, four former ministers and an ex MLA switched loyalties and joined the BJP in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
In a big blow to the Congress in Punjab, Home Minister Amit Shah during his visit to Chandigarh today, admitted four former ministers of the grand old party into the BJP today.
Those who jumped onto the BJP bandwagon are former cabinet ministers Raj Kumar Verka, Balbir Sidhu, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, and Sham Sundar Arora. Industrialist Kewal Dhillon, a former MLA too joined the BJP. All of them had lost the assembly election to AAP candidates.
Verka belongs to the Dalit community and has a hold in the Majha belt of Punjab. Sham Sundar, a Hindu belongs to the Doaba belt. Balbir Sidhu and Gurpreet Kangar hail from the Malwa belt.
Sarup Singla, a former Akali MLA from Bathinda also joined the BJP.
All these leaders first met at the residence of former PPCC chief and MP, Sunil Jakhar who recently quit the Congress to join the BJP. It is believed that these leaders were persuaded to quit Congress to join the BJP by Jakhar who has a personal score to settle with the Congress high command. They later proceeded to BJP's state headquarters in Chandigarh where Amit Shah welcomed them to the saffron party's fold.
BJP leaders Tarun Chug, Ashwani Sharma, and Manjinder Singh Sirsa besides many others were also present on the occasion.
Speaking to newsmen, Verka said that he had joined the BJP for the welfare of Punjab. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was doing a good job for the country, he added.
Sirsa said that Congress had no other business than looting people. All right-thinking men would join the BJP.
While the move has come as a major embarrassment for the Congress, the state party chief Raja Amarinder Singh Warring tried to put up a brave face. He claimed that it did not matter if disgruntled leaders left the party and the Congress would still perform better than the BJP.
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