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Four-time BJP MLA to join Congress today

Atul Mathur , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 13, 2013
First Published: 02:21 IST(13/11/2013) | Last Updated: 07:56 IST(13/11/2013)

Four-time MLA from Hari Nagar and industry minister in the BJP government between 1993 and 1998, Harsharan Singh Balli has decided to join the Congress party. He may contest the upcoming assembly elections on a Congress ticket.

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Balli said he would formally join the Congress on Wednesday. “I am joining the Congress party tomorrow (Wednesday). If the party gives me ticket, I will certainly contest,” Balli said.

Balli resigned from the BJP after he was denied a ticket to contest for the fifth consecutive time. The BJP has given the Hari Nagar seat to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) under the seat-sharing arrangement between the two allies. A BJP councillor is now contesting the election on the Akali Dal symbol from the seat.

While the BJP had made several efforts to pacify him, Balli resigned from the party and the committees of Delhi Assembly last Friday.

Though the Congress had declared Surender Kumar Setia its candidate from Hari Nagar seat late Monday evening, sources said a final decision on the seat and 14 others would be taken soon.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit refused to confirm the development but sources said the party had agreed to give Balli a ticket from Hari Nagar to take on the SAD-BJP combine.

“We have been losing that seat for 20 years now. Balli is a prominent leader and a known and respectable face. Hari Nagar is a Sikh-dominated assembly and he is capable of winning,” said a senior Delhi Congress leader, requesting anonymity.

Senior Congress leaders said Balli’s name may figure in the second list of candidates. The Congress has so far declared 56 candidates so far.

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