Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) suspended legislator Inderbir Singh Bolaria will join the Congress on Dussehra, October 11. State party president Captain Amarinder Singh will induct him.
On Thursday or Friday, Bolaria will meet Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Amarinder in Delhi. The Aam Aadmi Party (AA), Awaaz-e-Punjab forum of Navjot Singh Sidhu, and Sucha Singh Chhotepur’s Aapna Punjab Party (APP) also tried to poach Bolaria.
The two-time legislator from Amritsar South rebelled against the ruling party because he didn’t want a solid-waste-treatment project in his constituency. In April, the party sacked him as chief parliamentary secretary (education) when he started an agitation against the project.
Bolaria was once close to SAD president Sukhbir Badal and state cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
Confirming his move, Bolaria said: “Only the Congress can provide good governance in Punjab and defeat (the) Akalis. I am going unconditionally.” He will issue a formal statement after meeting Rahul and Amarinder. The induction is a boost to the Congress that has lost three consecutive elections in Amritsar (South).
Bolaria won the assembly seat in 2008 (bypoll) and 2012, while his father, Raminder Singh Bolaria, was elected in 2007. In 2012, Bolaria defeated the Congress candidate by more than 15,000 votes in an evidence of his popularity in the segment. Some Congress leaders of the constituency have objected to his coming over, but Amarinder has settled those questions.
A Congress source said that even though cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has also approached the Congress for a possible switch, there could be no formal meeting, since Rahul is busy with Kisan Yatra in Uttar Pradesh. Sidhu, negotiating on behalf of the Awaaz-e-Punjab, has opened backdoor channels for alliance with the Congress for the Punjab elections.
Congress secretary for Punjab affairs Harish Chaudhry also confirmed no decision on alliance with Sidhu. “But Bolaria is set to join the Congress through Amarinder,” he said.