1. Ex-Congress MP shares stage with BJP minister, triggers speculation

Ex-Congress MP shares stage with BJP minister, triggers speculation

Former Congress MP Arvind Sharma sharing the dais with Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma at an event in Karnal has triggered speculation of him joining the BJP.

By: | Chandigarh | Published: May 21, 2017 7:44 PM
Arvind Sharma had quit the Congress before the 2014 Haryana Assembly polls to join the BSP, which named him as its chief ministerial candidate. (PTI)

Former Congress MP Arvind Sharma sharing the dais with Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma at an event in Karnal and praising the Narendra Modi and Manohar Lal Khattar governments has triggered speculation of him joining the BJP. “The Modi government, which is completing three years at the Centre, is doing well and the people are happy with it. The chief minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar, is also an honest man working towards taking the state on the development path,” he said.

Arvind had quit the Congress before the 2014 Haryana Assembly polls to join the BSP, which named him as its chief ministerial candidate. However, the BSP managed to win only one seat in the 90-member assembly with Arvind exiting the party last year.

Yesterday, the former Congress leader shared the stage with the Education Minister at a programme to mark ‘Parshuram Jayanti’. “I was presiding over the function, and nearly 25,000 people turned up for it,” Arvind told PTI over phone today. He said he will help organise an even bigger function in Karnal next month with top BJP leaders likely to attend it.

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On speculation of him joining the BJP, Arvind said, “I am independent at the moment and not attached with any political party. I will consult my workers and take their opinion about my future course of action.”

Calling his joining the BSP a “hasty move”, he said many of his workers and supporters felt that they were not consulted in this decision of his.

Giving ample indications that he would join the BJP, Arvind said, “The entire system was in crumbles when the BJP came to power. It took them time to set it right. The overwhelming majority that it got in states like Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand shows people have faith in them.” He also said the Modi government had brought a number of schemes for the welfare of the common people.

On Khattar, Arvind said, “The chief minister is an honest person, but needs to focus more on the GT Road. If the BJP wants to win again, it has to concentrate on (creating) jobs and (bringing) development in this belt.”

Interestingly, the Haryana chief minister is a first time legislator from Karnal, the region from where Arvind was a MP. “Prior to Khattar, Haryana had chief ministers from Rohtak, Sirsa, Bhiwani and Hisar, but there had always been a demand for one from the GT road area.

“When the BJP came to power, they understood this sentiment and made Khattar the chief minister, even though the BJP had contested the polls under Ram Bilas Sharma’s leadership,” he said.

“The Haryana chief minister is a well educated and an honest man. His government aptly handled this year’s Jat agitation for reservation, which had turned violent in 2016,” Arvind said.

“Even Ram Bilas Sharma played a good role, and peace and brotherhood was maintained. Jat leaders also understood that the government has the right intent. It created trust among people,” he said.

Arvind said when he was the Karnal MP, he had got an airport sanctioned from there in 2013. “I appeal the Khattar government that they must get this project for Karnal at the earliest as it has already been sanctioned,” he said.

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