In a major setback to Congress, party leader Navdeep Goldy, who had contested assembly by-election from Amritsar (South) constituency in 2008, joined Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) here on Friday.
Goldy joined SAD in the presence of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, BJP candidate from Amritsar Arun Jaitley and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
Welcoming Goldy into the party fold at a press conference, Sukhbir said, “Navdeep Goldy is a popular leader and has a strong team. Today, Goldy decided to join Akali Dal along with his team and I welcome him into the party. This is a boost for us and shows how discontented Congressmen are.”
CONG LACKS UNITY: GOLDY
Spelling out reasons for his joining into SAD, Goldy, who has been associated with the Congress since 1992, said, “It was the same old problem. Captain Amarinder Singh (Congress candidate from Amritsar) is hardly accessible and confined to his close circle. Moreover, there is hardly any unity in the party”.
When his attention was drawn to the fact that he was actively involved in the road show organised to welcome Amarinder in Amritsar, Goldy said, “Definitely I was there but when I saw that things have not changed with Amarinder, I decided to join Akali Dal”. Goldy also claimed that he was impressed by Jaitley’s stature and this finally triggered his decision to shift to SAD.
CONG CAN TAKE MORE LIKE MANNA: MAJITHIA
Reacting to a query on Youth Akali DAl (YAD) leader Mandeep Manna’s joining the Congress, YAD president Bikram Singh Majithia said, “I would just say that they (Congress) can take 3-4 more (leaders) like Manna. He was no longer our national general secretary”. Speaking on the occasion, Jaitley said the price rise, corruption and the uninspiring leadership of the Congress have failed to woo the people.
“The BJP’s campaign appears to have succeeded in both laying down the political agenda and also pushing Narendra Modi as the centre-stage personality of this election. Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi continue to have a marginal impact. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a non-factor in this election”, he added.
On the high turnout reported in Thursday’s polling, he said,
“For us in BJP, high poll percentage is good news. The more the merrier”.