Expelled Congressman Deepinder Singh Dhillon, earlier a confidant of minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur, joined Shiromani Akali Dal on Thursday.
He was expelled from the Congress before the assembly election on January 22 after he announced to contest as an Independent from Dera Bassi against the party's official nominee Jasjeet Singh Randhawa. He was Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee member at that time.
Sources revealed that Congress leaders made last ditch efforts to win Dhillon back, but he refused. It was learnt that Preneet Kaur also made attempts to persuade Dhillon to rejoin the Congress.
"I have served the people of Dera Bassi area for 20 years but have got no reward. I had an old association with the SAD, which I am re-joining," he announced in the presence of Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and SAD president and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, who reached Deepinder's Chandigarh home to induct him into the party.
Speaking on the occasion, Badal said that entry of Dhillon in the ruling party in Punjab would further enthuse SAD, which had old ties with Dhillon's father and retired Punjab and Haryana High court judge justice Bhupinder Singh. He hoped that Deepinder would continue to serve the people with sincerity.
Dhillon, 50, contested the 2009 by-election in Banur after the death of Capt Kanwaljeet Singh, and polled around 51,000 votes against 12,000 polled by Congress candidate.
Top leaders of the SAD who were present at the function held to induct Dhillon into the party announced no post or designation for himi, but said "Dhillon will get respect in the Akali Dal".
Revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia and SAD MLA from Dera Bassi and CPS NK Sharma were also present on the occasion.