Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa today joined the BJP in the presence of Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, national general secretary Dushyant Kumar Gautam and Delhi BJP leader Ramvir Singh Bidhuri at the party headquarters in New Delhi. Sirsa’s joining comes months ahead of the Punjab Assembly Elections 2022. Sirsa had resigned as president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee earlier in the day.
Addressing the media, Shekhawat said that Sirsa is a prominent face in the politics of Northern India, especially when one talks about Sikh leaders. He praised Sirsa for his exemplary work as the president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. He said that the BJP will benefit immensely in the Punjab election from Sirsa’s joining the party. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that Sirsa’s entry will strengthen the BJP’s voter base.
Sirsa said that Shiromani Akali Dal had been a partner of the BJP for long and both parties had fought together for the cause of Sikhs and Punjabis. He said that Sikhs are facing a number of issues across the country today and one needs a government that can solve those issues. “I have always raised my voice for the issues related to Sikhs. I had a chat with Home Minister Amit Shah ji with regards to issues concerning Sikhs across the country. I am happy that not only did he talk to me but said that he wants to solve these issues and will raise them with the Prime Minister as well,” said Sirsa.
Sirsa said that he resigned as the president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee as he did not want people to believe that he joined the BJP to save his post. “I want to dedicate myself for the cause of Sikhs,” said Sirsa while recalling issues concerning Sikhs in states like Sikkim, Shillong, Jammu and Kashmir or Madhya Pradesh and Assam.
Sirsa is considered a close ally of SAD veteran Sukhbir Singh Badal and has been vocal in raising issues related to the Sikh community and farmers as well. He was instrumental in arranging facilities for the farmers during the ongoing protests in the form of Langars and even facilitated inter-state transport for farmers to join the protests. Sirsa is also considered a strong figure when it comes to religious issues related to Sikhs and wields strong influence within the community. His entry into the BJP, coupled with Amarinder Singh’s yet-to-be-announced tie-up with the BJP is expected to give the saffron party a stronger hold in a state where it has a negligible presence. Sirsa’s crossing over, many believe, could also open the floodgates for other disgruntled leaders in the Congress as well as the SAD.