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Suspended AAP MP Harinder Singh Khalsa in saffron fold

Khalsa won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on AAP ticket but was suspended from the party along with Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi in 2015 for alleged anti-party activities.

chandigarh Updated: Mar 29, 2019 12:32 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times, Fatehgarh Sahib
AAP,AAP MP,MP
Suspended AAP MP Harinder Singh Khalsa joined the BJP on Thrusday, March 28, 2019.(HT File )

Suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP from Fatehgarh Sahib Harinder Singh Khalsa on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s presence in New Delhi on Thursday.

Khalsa won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on AAP ticket but was suspended from the party along with Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi in 2015 for alleged anti-party activities.

An ex-Indian Foreign Service officer, Khalsa, who belongs to SC community, started his political carrier with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the BJP ally in Punjab. Union urban development minister Hardeep Puri and Khalsa are batchmates and the former, it is learnt, has played a key role in convincing Khalsa to join the saffron party.

Welcoming Khalsa, Jaitley talked about his past and said Khalsa was a diplomat in Norway in 1984 when he resigned in protest against Operation Bluestar.

Khalsa, on his part, said he has joined the BJP unconditionally, and will undertake any assignment given by party leadership. “I have joined the party unconditionally as I found that it is the platform to serve the nation. I will do canvassing and any other work that the party will assign to me”, Khalsa said.

He said the AAP has lost its face as party national convener Arvind Kejriwal’s “dictatorial face has been fully exposed.” “Now, only those who can work under a dictator are in the AAP. The party has no ideology. It has no future in the national politics and Punjab,” he said.

With the BJP not being able to find a suitable Sikh face from Amritsar, it might be tempted to field him from there. The party will also use him to woo Sikh voters in Uttar Pradesh as he is known for his stand against the Congress for Bluestar, it is learnt. Before being elected from Fatehgarh Sahib, Khalsa was elected as an MP from Bathinda in 1996 on SAD ticket. He had also remained a member of the National Commission of Scheduled Castes and Tribes under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and served as SGPC secretary.

Khalsa had attended a lecture series organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Delhi in January,
inviting sharp criticism by his opponents.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 05:12 IST