Captain Amarinder Singh congratulated Punjab Congress leaders who joined BJP
Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh yesterday congratulated Congress leaders for joining the BJP, calling the move a "tip of the iceberg". Five Congress leaders and former ministers Raj Kumar Verka, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Sunder Sham Arora, Gurpreet Singh Kangar and Kewal Dhillon joined the BJP on Saturday.
"My best wishes to Balbir S. Sidhu, Gurpreet S. Kangar, Dr Raj Kumar Verka, Sunder Sham Arora and Kewal Singh Dhillon for taking a step in the right direction and joining BJP today. This is just the tip of the iceberg," Amarinder Singh tweeted, in what was seen as alluding to more likely exits from his former party.
The Congress was voted out of power in the Punjab elections earlier this year. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, or AAP, unseated the Congress with a big win.
Amarinder Singh left the Congress and formed his own party months before the Punjab elections. He has held the Gandhis responsible for the rout of the party in the assembly elections. Amarinder Singh had said the Congress was "comfortably placed" in Punjab before he was unseated as Chief Minister.
He has slammed the Congress Working Committee for trying to put the blame for the defeat in Punjab on him instead of "gracefully admitting" their "own blunders".
While leaving the Congress in November last year, less than two months for the assembly elections, Amarinder Singh in a fiery letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had made a series of questions and accusations against the party and its individual leaders -- including her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
"...Despite knowing me for the better part of my 52 years in public life and that too at a deeply personal level, you never understood me or my character. You thought I was getting on in years and should be put to pasture," Amarinder Sing had said in the letter.
Two former Shiromani Akali Dal MLAs Sarup Chand Singla and Mohinder Kaur Josh, too, joined the BJP yesterday.
Balbir Sidhu, a three-time MLA from Mohali, was the Health Minister in the previous Congress government while Gurpreet Kangar, who is also a three-time MLA from Rampura Phul, was the Revenue Minister. Mr Verka, a prominent Dalit leader from Majha region, is a three-time legislator and was the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment and Minorities in the previous government. Sunder Sham Arora, a former MLA from Hoshiarpur, was the Industry and Commerce Minister in the previous Congress government.
All the four leaders lost the 2022 state assembly polls.