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Congress turncoats bag plum posts in BJP; Amarinder, Jakhar in party top body; Shergill new spokesperson

Ahead of Punjab Assembly election Captain Amarinder Singh was dethroned from the CM post by Congress high command over his differences with then-state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in a dramatic turn of events.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: December 02, 2022 17:19 IST
Amarinder Singh and Jakhar, both were Congress stalwarts in
Image Source : PTI/FILE Amarinder Singh and Jakhar, both were Congress stalwarts in Punjab

Former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and former MP Sunil Jakhar were appointed as members of the Bharatiya Janta Party National Executive on Friday. BJP also appointed former Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill as the national spokesperson of the party. Singh and several other senior leaders quit Congress over differences with then Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

The saffron party included three members in its top body. The third member was Swatantra Dev Singh. Singh was the former UP BJP chief. 

Other appointments in BJP

Madan Kaushik, Vishnu Deo Sai, its former presidents of Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh respectively, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Manoranjan Kalia and Amanjot Kaur Ramoowalia, all three from Punjab, have been made special invitees to the national executive, BJP statement read. 

Amarinder Singh along with huge chunk of Punjab Congress joined BJP

Amarinder Singh joined the BJP in September and merged his Punjab Lok Congress with it, saying it was time for him to go to the party that is looking after the country's interests and security. Singh (80) joined the BJP at its headquarters in the presence of Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Kiren Rijiju along with several Punjab leaders. His son Raninder Singh and daughter Jai Inder Kaur also joined the saffron party.

In his remarks, the two-time former Punjab chief minister with a long association with the Congress before he quit it last year highlighted his security concerns for Punjab amid "increasing animosity" with Pakistan, something he has been seeing with "growing dismay".

"Now is the time to do something for the country. We have seen the Congress, now it is time to go to the party which has been doing so much for the country and its security. It is a pleasure being here," he told a press conference.

He also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda after the joining ceremony.

Noting that Chinese border is also a short flight away from Chandigarh, Punjab's capital, Singh said the state is hemmed in by two hostile countries and that China is way ahead of India in weaponry. 

He blamed the Congress for the gap, saying no weapon was added to India's security apparatus when A K Antony was the defence minister.

The Narendra Modi government has been working to boost India's firepower and has introduced several new weaponry, he added.

"Our ideology is the same," he said, stressing on his commitment to national security.

Asked whether his wife Preneet Kaur, a Congress MP from Patiala, would also join the BJP, he asked if it is necessary for the wife to do what the husband is doing, leaving everyone in laughter.

Singh had floated the Punjab Lok Congress last year after quitting the Congress following his unceremonious exit as chief minister, but his party failed to win any seat in the state assembly polls held in February.

Singh himself lost from his home turf of Patiala Urban as the Aam Aadmi Party scored a landslide victory. Along with Singh, former deputy speaker of Punjab Assembly Ajaib Singh Bhatti, former MP Amrik Singh Aliwal, former legislators Harchand Kaur, Harinder Singh Thekedar, Prem Mittal and labour leader Kewal Singh also joined the BJP with scores of his supporters. The former adviser to Amarinder Singh, BIS Chahal, also joined the saffron party.

(With agency input)


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