Just days after quitting the Congress, party’s former Punjab chief Sunil Jakhar joined the BJP today. Jakhar was formally inducted in the BJP by party president J P Nadda at an event in the national capital.
“I welcome Sunil Jakhar to Bharatiya Janata Party. He is an experienced political leader who made a name for himself during his political career. I am confident he will play a big role in strengthening the party in Punjab,” Nadda said at the event.
After joining the BJP, Jakhar said that he and his family were part of the Congress for the last 50 years. “Today, I have broken the 50-year-old tie with Congress over issues of nationalism, unity and brotherhood in Punjab,” he said.
“I’m fighting for Punjab’s brotherhood. The work which bullets of AK-47 were not able to do, they (Congress) did it with their tongue that person from a particular community can’t be elected (as CM). They not only insulted Hindu brotherhood but also Sikh brotherhood,” he added.
Jakhar will be a formidable Hindu face, with no baggage, for the BJP in a state where it is trying to find its feet without former ally Akali Dal. While he belongs to a prominent Jat family, Jakhar enjoys the support of other communities in the state as well.
The 68-year-old disgruntled leader had announced last week his decision to quit the Congress which had last month removed him for all positions for alleged anti-party activities.
On May 14, Jakhar sent live on Facebook to announce his resignation. The move coincided with the second day of the Congress’ ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur where the party was brainstorming over revival and its plan of action for the upcoming Assembly elections and 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
“It is my parting gift to the party. These are my last words to Congressmen. Good luck and goodbye Congress,” Jakhar said while asserting that it was the end of an association that spanned 50 years and three generations.
“You broke (my) heart,” Jakhar had said in a no-holds-barred attack on the Congress and its leadership.
Jakhar’s is the latest high profile resignation from the party. Among those who have exited the party recently are Amarinder Singh, Ashwani Kumar and RPN Singh, all long-time leaders of the party.
The Congress’ disciplinary panel had recommended that Mr Jakhar be suspended from the party for two years and removed from all posts. He was also issued a show-cause notice by the Congress leadership over his criticism of former Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
Jakhar had questioned Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s handling of party affairs and expressed anguish over the show-cause notice to him after 50 years of association with the party.
He was also critical of senior Congress leadership, including Ambika Soni, former Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat, and current in-charge Harish Chaudhary. Mincing no words, Jakhar had advised Gandhi family to be wary of “sycophants” and take the lead to revive the Congress, saying it had been reduced from once “khaat pe charcha” to “khatiya”.