Haryana: Ex-minister Birender Singh, wife return to Congress fold : The Tribune India

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Haryana: Ex-minister Birender Singh, wife return to Congress fold

Haryana: Ex-minister Birender Singh, wife return to Congress fold

Former Union minister Birender Singh with Congress leaders Mukul Wasnik and Bhupinder Hooda at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. TRIBUNE PHOTO:MUKESH AGGARWAL

Tribune News Service

Shubhadeep Choudhury

New Delhi, April 9

Reeling under the after-effects of the agitation against the three controversial farm laws and sexual harassment charges levelled by top women wrestlers against BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Haryana’s ruling BJP got a fresh blow on Tuesday when former Union minister and senior Jat leader Birender Singh rejoined the Congress, bringing to an end his 10 years’ relationship with the BJP (2014-24).

Birender Singh and his wife Prem Lata, a former MLA, were welcomed back to the Congress by party’s general secretary Mukul Wasnik. The Congress’ entire Haryana top brass, including Leader of the Opposition and former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, PCC chief Uday Bhan, AICC general secretaries Kumari Selja and Randeep Surjewala, and chairman OBC Congress Ajay Singh Yadav were present.

Syed Naseer Hussain, incharge of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s office, former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and party spokesperson Pawan Khera were also among those present.

Deepak Babaria, AICC incharge of the party’s Haryana unit, was away home in Ahmedabad and did not show up for the function.

Birender Singh’s son Brijendra Singh, who won from Hisar parliamentary constituency of Haryana on the BJP ticket in 2019, had resigned from the BJP and joined the Congress last month. Brijendra, who is set to contest from Hisar again, this time on the Congress ticket, was also present during the function held at the AICC headquarters here.

Birender Singh, grandson of the legendary Jat leader Sir Chhotu Ram, said the BJP didn’t have “any love for farmers”. He recalled how agitated some BJP leaders had become when he proposed fixing a “benchmark” for various crops. Despite being a part of the BJP, he had always supported the agitation against the farm laws and the protest by women wrestlers, Birender Singh said, adding it was surprising the BJP did not expel him.

The former Haryana Finance Minister, who had four decades old association with the Congress and remained the PCC chief and nurtured chief ministerial ambitions, said return to the Congress also meant “ideological rehabilitation” for him.

Claiming that he had confided to Congress leader Sonia Ganfhi before quitting the party in 2014, Birender Singh said he told her he was leaving the party for certain reasons.

Welcoming them to the party, Mukul Wasnik said, “With their joining, the Congress will be strengthened in Haryana and it will form the government in the state.”

Hooda said Birender Singh’s return was giving him the same joy as one would feel when a long lost member of family returned home.

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