Haryana Congress leader Birender Singh appears set to join BJP

Written by PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: Aug 1 2014, 00:03am hrs
After a series of desertions in the election year, the ruling Congress in Haryana may face another jolt as its senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh, who has openly revolted against the Chief Minister, appears set to dump the party and join BJP.

Singh, who had met BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi two days ago fuelling speculations that he may switch over to the saffron camp, today said he would attend a rally at Kaithal on August 18, to which Shah too has been invited.

Asked if he would join BJP at the rally, Singh, a known detractor of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said "there I will make a formal announcement regarding my next step".

Asked if this means he would join BJP, he said, "that is your interpretation" and declined to make any further comment on this issue. He said the Kaithal rally is being organised by Hisar-based social organisation Yuva Shakti. Singh said that he has been tasked with bringing massive crowds to the rally and that he will spare no effort in doing that.

Singh met his supporters today at his home turf Uchana in Jind district to seek their feedback to decide on his next step. "I wanted to seek their feedback, I am on the crossroads (of my political career). A vast majority of them said that I should quit Congress and join the BJP," he said.

Singh's supporters also told him that he had not got his due in Congress and that they would back him if he joins BJP.

The Haryana Congress unit has been facing an exodus of leaders, some of whom have joined the BJP camp, since the last Lok Sabha polls. Prominent Congress leaders who have switched over to the saffron party include Rao Inderjit Singh, who had also been vocal against Hooda.

Rao, who was then a Congress MP from Gurgaon, severed his four-decade old ties with Congress and contested as BJP nominee from Gurgaon and retained his seat. He is now a minister in the Narendra Modi government.

Senior leader from Bhiwani region Dharambir also switched over to BJP and is now a MP from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh seat. Former Union minister Venod Sharma too severed his four-decade old ties with the Congress to float his own Jan Chetna Party. Another turncoat, Ramesh Kaushik, won the Sonepat Lok Sabha constituency on a BJP ticket after quitting the Congress.