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Ex-Congress MP from Karnal Arvind Sharma joins BJP

Sharma, 56, represented twice the Karnal Lok Sabha seat where the BJP is looking for a candidate as the sitting party MP Ashwini Kumar is unlikely to contest.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 16, 2019 18:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
congress MP joins BJP,Arvind Sharma Karnal,Karnal MP
Former MP Arvind Sharma (right) with BJP national president Amit Shah and Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar in New Delhi on Friday(HT)

Former Congress MP Arvind Kumar Sharma on Friday switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a move for which the BJP is expected to reward the three-term MP with a party ticket from Haryana in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Sharma, 56, represented twice the Karnal Lok Sabha seat where the BJP is looking for a candidate as the sitting party MP Ashwini Kumar is unlikely to contest.

Also, the BJP has been banking on the support of non-Jat communities in the state. The party leaders are of the opinion that Sharma’s entry in the BJP will be beneficial during the high-stakes elections. The polling for the ten Lok Sabha seats of Haryana is slated for May 12.

“I have thoughtfully taken this decision after observing that BJP has done a lot of work for poor, Dalits, farmers, youths, unemployed people, women and the elderly. Today, I am whole-heartedly joining the BJP,” Sharma told the media in Delhi.

The Brahmin leader came into the fold of the saffron party in the presence of Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and party general secretary in-charge of the state Anil Jain. Khattar and Jain said Sharma’s induction will strengthen the party.

Sharma, who had done master’s degree in dental surgery from Gujarat University in 1991, hails from Majra village in Bahadurgarh town of Rohtak district. Before joining politics, Sharma had served as dental surgeon at Rohtak under the Haryana Civil Medical Services for some years.

Sharma became MP first in 1996 from Sonepat when he contested independently and defeated Social Action Party (SAP) candidate Rijaq Ram by 49,540 votes. In 1999 Lok Sabha elections, Sharma had shifted to Rohtak parliamentary seat. He contested again as an independent and was defeated as he polled only 27,265 votes.

After joining the Congress, Sharma entered the fray in 2004 from Karnal and defeated BJP’s two-time Karnal MP and former Union minister of state ID Swami by about 1.64 lakh votes. In 2009, the Karnal voters again elected Sharma as their Lok Sabha representative. However, in 2014 Lok Sabha elections Sharma suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of BJP nominee Chopra who won the Karnal seat by about 3.60 lakh votes.

After this defeat, Sharma left the Congress and joined the BSP ahead of Haryana assembly polls in 2014. As BSP’s chief ministerial candidate Sharma fought assembly elections from Yamunanagar and Julana seats, but he was pushed to the third slot in both the seats. Political observers say the BJP may also explore the possibility of fielding Sharma from Rohtak having nearly three lakh Brahmin voters.

First Published: Mar 16, 2019 15:13 IST