Post Sunil Jakhar, Punjab Congress fears 'more defections' : The Tribune India

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Post Sunil Jakhar, Punjab Congress fears 'more defections'

Post Sunil Jakhar, Punjab Congress fears 'more defections'

Raja Warring

Tribune News Service

Rajmeet Singh

Chandigarh, May 19

While PCC chief Amrinder Raja Warring termed Sunil Jakhar’s switchover to the BJP as something “not unexpected”, sources in the party have not ruled out the PCC ex-chief being used by the saffron party to trigger defections among disgruntled Congress leaders.

Played into BJP’s hands

He had been playing into BJP’s hands. Else there was no reason for him to rake up ‘Hindu’ issue during polls. — Raja Warring,PCC Prez

Right move

Right man in right party. Honest and upright leaders like him can’t breathe in the Congress anymore. — Capt Amarinder Singh, Ex-CM

What of Bias over religion?

Jakhar objected to being discriminated against over religion. Why did he join BJP, known for religion-based politics? Malwinder Kang, AAP

PM’s policies played role

Jakhar brings along 5 decades of experience in politics. The visionary policies of PM Modi are instrumental in influencing him to join the BJP. — Ashwani Sharma, State BJP Chief

“Jakhar could be adjusted in the Rajya Sabha and given some responsibility in Punjab. The BJP is trying to increase its footprint in Punjab ahead of the 2024 parliamentary elections. Certain former ministers in the previous Congress government who are unhappy with the current dispensation may be wooed to join the saffron party,” said a senior party leader.

At the same time, the party may face trouble from some of the former MLAs, who have been seen with ex-PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu over the past few weeks. Punjab Affairs in charge Harish Chaudhary has already written to the party high command for initiation of disciplinary action against the cricketer-turned-politician. The former MLAs and other leaders are in a state of disarray as they have been re-grouping under Sidhu to offer a platform of clean politics.

A senior party leader termed the SC verdict on Sidhu and Jakhar joining the BJP “good riddance” from both leaders as both had been working to pull down Congress. “At least Sidhu will not work parallel to the state leadership for a year,” he said.

Former Home Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa said the loss Sidhu had caused to the Congress could not be repaired. “What the Congress couldn’t do, the SC has done for it. I had asked Rahul Gandhi to expel Jakhar and Sidhu from the party,” he said.

Reacting to the development, Warring said Jakhar was “playing into the hands of BJP” for a long time. He started working for the BJP while still being in the Congress and today’s joining was just a formality. He caused maximum damage to the party by parroting the ‘Hindutva’ agenda of the BJP during the 2022 elections, he claimed.

“Otherwise there was no reason for him to rake up the ‘Hindu’ issue during the elections and he only raked it up to help the BJP. He has not only let down the Congress, but also betrayed his own secular legacy, which he was so proudly harping on till the recent past. Not just the Congress, but people of Punjab would like to ask Jakhar as to what happened to his secular beliefs that he cherished until the recent past?” he said.

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