Former Punjab director general of police Paramdeep Singh Gill may have been non-committal over his joining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after leaving its alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), but he has been handed a key duty by the saffron party in the assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
Announced as a member of the BJP’s state campaign committee headed by Union minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday, he is actively campaigning in the hill state where the BJP is making a historic bid for power after winning three seats in the Lok Sabha polls.
Voting in J&K is to take place in five phases starting from November 25.
Having served as an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the J&K cadre, Gill had contested from Moga in the 2012 Punjab assembly elections on the SAD ticket but lost to Congress candidate Joginderpal Jain.
His defeat was seen to be a result of SAD’s infighting; and even Jain later quit as Congress MLA, joined the SAD and won on an Akali ticket.
His very joining the BJP — in the presence of party chief Amit Shah at Kathua in Jammu on August 25 — had attracted strong reaction from the SAD, which saw it as “poaching” by the partner.
The “defection” was reportedly engineered by the Jammu unit of the BJP.
SAD patron and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had called the BJP’s move an “unethical practice”, saying that “at least coalition partners should refrain from poaching each others’ leaders”.
Gill, a 1974-batch IPS officer, had been handpicked by the SAD-BJP government to become Punjab police chief in 2009, and turned an Akali politician after retirement. He had been made a candidate in Moga after sidelining Tota Singh, but later felt sidelined himself as his rival Jain switched to the SAD.
On Sunday, BJP leaders were not immediately available for comment, while there was no reaction from the SAD. Gill, too, remained incommunicado.
The BJP high command has also indicated that Gill may get a position at the central level after the J&K polls.