In damage control mode, BJP sends Punjab in-charge Rupani to take feedback - Hindustan Times
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In damage control mode, BJP sends Punjab in-charge Rupani to take feedback

By, Chandigarh
Oct 18, 2023 08:56 AM IST

A party insider, privy to the developments, said, the BJP high command has taken a strong view of the desertion of the three former ministers Balbir Sidhu, Gurpreet Kangar and Raj Kumar Verka and has deputed its senior leaders, including former Gujarat chief minister and Punjab affairs in-charge Vijay Rupani and its vice-president and in-charge of Northern states Saudan Singh to assess the situation at the ground and report to the party high-command

Days after three former Punjab ministers left the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined Congress leaving the state unit leadership red-faced, the saffron party has started efforts to control the damage sensing more outflows, especially of those who recently joined the party.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters hold party flags. (ANI File)
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters hold party flags. (ANI File)

A party insider, privy to the developments, said, the BJP high command has taken a strong view of the desertion of the three former ministers Balbir Sidhu, Gurpreet Kangar and Raj Kumar Verka and has deputed its senior leaders, including former Gujarat chief minister and Punjab affairs in-charge Vijay Rupani and its vice-president and in-charge of Northern states Saudan Singh to assess the situation at the ground and report to the party high-command.

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Rupani landed in Chandigarh on Sunday and met with the senior leadership of the state unit including Punjab BJP chief Sunil Jakhar and took feedback about those leaders who reportedly are upset with the party, the leader quoted above said.

“Discussions were held over three ex-ministers joining Congress. These leaders were pushing to resolve smaller issues which ultimately created a big misunderstanding within the party,” a general secretary, who was part of the meeting chaired by Rupani and Saudan Singh and did not wish to be named said.

Further, Punjab co-incharge, Dr Narinder Raina, also met Kewal Dhillon, another former Congress leader who had joined the BJP to contest by-polls for the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat held in 2022.

Dhillon is also stated to be upset with not being accommodated in the new team announced by Jakhar recently. Dhillon was made vice-president, in the team announced by previous state president Ashwani Sharma.

On Tuesday, another leader and retired SSP Rajinder Singh decided to shift his allegiance to Congress.

Rajinder had joined the BJP amid much fanfare just ahead of the Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypolls and was projected as the party’s candidate. Ultimately, the party chose Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal leaving Rajinder in a lurch. Rajinder met Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and will officially join the party on October 20. Similarly, the daughter of former deputy speaker in the Punjab assembly Ajaib Singh Bhatti, who had also joined the BJP after 2022 Assembly polls, also met Warring to join the Congress.

Dr Raina said the exodus of these leaders won’t affect the party.

“There were several issues involved in this. Some of the leaders had cases of corruption against them. You never know what happened behind the scenes. Further, AAP and the Congress are already preparing to contest upcoming Lok Sabha polls together, so that might be the reason for defection,” Raina said referring to the India bloc, an alliance of the opposition parties.

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