Cracking the whip on sulking Haryana leader Birender Singh, who has been giving signals of joining the BJP, the Congress high command on Thursday night removed him from the party’s highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC). Meanwhile, a defiant Birender said earlier in the day that his supporters wanted him to join the BJP.
In a notice, the Rajya Sabha MP, who has been vocal in his criticism of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has been asked to explain within three days why he should not be expelled from the Congress for his meetings with BJP leaders, including its chief Amit Shah. Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed, who issued the notice, attached a photograph of his meeting with Shah and asked why he had not contradicted media reports of his plans to join the BJP.
Sources said Birender, who is scheduled to share the stage with Shah on August 18, was unlikely to fall in line. A prominent Jat leader who has spent 42 years in the Congress, he is expected to make a formal announcement of his next step at the Kaithal rally that could be attended by Union home minister Rajnath Singh too.
State Congress chief Ashok Tanwar confirmed Birender’s ouster from the CWC “for his recent remarks and anti-party activities”, but did not share details. Birender had recently declared that the Congress needed to sack Hooda to get a new lease of life in Haryana ahead of polls due in a couple of months.
At his home turf Uchana in Jind district to build ground for his big step, Birender said he was at a crossroads and was getting feedback from the workers: “A vast majority of them said that I should quit the Congress and join the BJP.”
Talking to HT, Birender said he had no information regarding his removal from the CWC, but added: “Jinhone banaya hai, wo hata bhi sakte hain (Those who made me a member can expel me too)”. Asked directly if he would join the BJP, he said, “The media will come to know if something like that happens!”