Former Congressman Arun Mehra 'Kuka' on Tuesday formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party with hundreds of supporters rallying him. Veteran BJP leader and Kangra parliamentary seat nominee Shanta Kumar welcomed him and his supporters to the party at a public function here.
Mehra, who belongs to other backward classes (OBC), had joined the opposition party “informally” a week ago.Addressing the gathering, Mehra said people were striving for change and he wanted to become a part of this change.“For the last 21 years, the BJP has been losing polls in Nagrota and development has eluded the region,” he claimed, adding that he would serve with dedication and consolidate the party cadre in the area.
Speaking on the occasion, Kumar said this was the first time such a large number of people had joined the party on the same day.
“The people joining the BJP include those who had earlier left the party due to one reason or another and those from other parties. This shows how fed up people are with the Congress regime,” he claimed.“This is not just an election for the formation of the next government. It is to save the country,” said Kumar, adding that corruption was prevailing at the Centre, while the Army was short of ammunition. “Corruption has forced poor people to take up guns, leading to the emergence of Naxalism,” he alleged.
Former minister Kishan Kapoor, former MLA from Nagrota Ram Chand Bhatia, state BJP general secretary Vipan Singh Parmar and party candidate from Nagrota in the two previous assembly elections Mangal Chaudhary attended the meeting.
Blow to Cong
The move has come as a major blow to the Congress, in the backyard of transport minister GS Bali.
In the OBC-dominated Nagrota constituency, Mehra had made Bali run for every vote as an independent candidate in the 2012 assembly elections, and had lost by a narrow margin. He was also considered close to chief minister Virbhadra Singh. It was alleged that Mehra contested the elections against Bali with the tacit support of the CM.
The BJP has not been able to put up a fight from Nagrota Bagwan for the last more than 10 years, as Bali had converted this OBC-dominated area into his bastion, in spite of being a Brahmin.