Punjab Congress ex-president Sunil Jakhar joins BJP; thanks Modi, Shah

Sources say Jakhar may be nominated for Rajya Sabha and would be given some responsibility in Punjab

Tribune News Service

Rajmeet Singh/Vibha Sharma
Chandigarh/New Delhi, May 19

Former Congress leader from Punjab, Sunil Jakhar, on Thursday joined the BJP in Delhi in the presence of party president JP Nadda.

Nadda called it a matter of happiness that a leader with such a vast political experience was joining the BJP.

JP Nadda welcomes Sunil Jakhar into the BJP fold. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Nadda said: “Jakhar managed to establish an identity away from the party,” adding, “In Punjab there are issues related to drugs, terrorism and it is important that people who have national interest in mind join the BJP.”

Nadda said the BJP is emerging as the voice of opposition in Punjab. He said that many leaders from the Akali Dal and the Congress with national interest in mind are joining the party.

Thanking Nadda, Jakhar said he was grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to make him join the party.

Jakhar said it was a difficult task for him to break away from the Congress with which he and his family had a long association.

"Sunil Jakhar never used politics to break people but join them. The Congress was like family for 50 years. It was not a personal problem, but issues related to national interest," Jakhar said.

He said: "It is with a very heavy heart that I am speaking today. But when I am not allowed to speak on the issues of national interest, when ideologies are relegated to sidelines, such steps become necessary."

Jakhar was in Delhi since he quit the Congress on Saturday.

Sources close to Jakhar said he might be nominated to the Rajya Sabha and would be given some responsibility in Punjab and would also be instrumental in bringing more disgruntled Congressmen into the BJP fold.

Jakhar recently had indicated that he wanted to remain relevant in Punjab.

On Facebook LIVE on Saturday, he said, “Good luck and goodbye to Congress.” The Congress had last month removed him from all positions for alleged anti-party activities.

Jakhar expressed displeasure at being served the notice by party leader Tariq Anwar who, he said, had once called Sonia Gandhi a foreigner.

#rahul gandhi #sunil jakhar

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