The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday suffered a setback when former DGP Punjab Paramdeep Singh Gill joined the BJP at a rally in Kathua, Jammu. He joined the saffron party in the presence of BJP president Amit Shah and general secretary JP Nadda.
SAD is a partner of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance which has its government at the Centre.
The SAD and BJP are also alliance partners in the Punjab government.
SAD, as sources said, had not taken the move well, reportedly engineered by the Jammu unit of the BJP.
Gill, a former 1974-batch IPS officer of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre was handpicked by the SAD-BJP government to become the DGP Punjab in 2009, and in 2012 Gill joined SAD and unsuccessfully contested elections from Moga in the 2012 assembly polls when he was defeated by Congress’s Joginder Pal Jain.
The move by the SAD high command at that time had annoyed local leader Tota Singh but later Gill also felt neglected and sidelined when the SAD made Jain join the party and made him contest the Moga bypoll.
Nadda, who was present at the Kathua rally along with Amit Shah, confirmed that Gill had joined the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP.
“He joined today and will work for the forthcoming assembly polls in the state,” Nadda told Hindustan Times over phone, adding that he was not aware that Gill was a SAD member.
BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir general secretary Kavinder Gupta, welcoming the move, said Gill would add to the party’s poll prospects in the state.
“He (Gill) has not informed me, he may have conveyed it to the party president Sukhbir Singh Badal,” said SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema.