Former Haryana MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi Thursday joined the BJP, a day after he resigned from the Vidhan Sabha and nearly two months after he was expelled by the Congress from all party positions for voting for saffron party-backed candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls.
Bishnoi, a four-time MLA and two-term MP, joined the BJP along with wife Renuka Bishnoi, a two-term former MLA, in the presence of senior leaders, including Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at party headquarters in New Delhi.
On the occasion, Bishnoi termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “best prime minister ever” who “always puts nation first and works for poor’s welfare and upliftment”and appreciated his vision, ideology, and BJP’s policies. He also praised Khattar for having a “spotless” reputation despite being the chief minister for over eight years.
Bishnoi, who had been representing Adampur in Hisar as MLA, on Wednesday had resigned from Vidhan Sabha, necessitating a bypoll in the constituency. The 53-year-old indicated that his son Bhavya Bishnoi may contest the bypoll, to be held within six months, as a BJP nominee.
“I have joined BJP without any condition. I only wanted love and respect for me and my supporters. Adampur is my family. I would want that my son Bhavya contests the bypoll from Adampur. Otherwise, even if the party decides to nominate anybody else, I will welcome that,” Bishnoi said.
Inducting him into the party, Khattar said Bhavya “is a young budding politician” and BJP welcomes him too in the party. “Kuldeep Bishnoi mentors an association of the Bishnoi community which has sizeable presence in Rajasthan as well. His presence will strengthen BJP both in Haryana and Rajasthan,” said Khattar.
The Haryana CM said that Bishnoi has been supporting Modi’s leadership and had backed the BJP during the recent Rajya Sabha polls despite being a Congress MLA. “It was a close contest, but his crucial vote led to our candidate’s win,” Khattar said.
Bishnoi’s decision to not vote for Congress’s Ajay Maken in the Rajya Sabha polls in June led to his defeat by a narrow margin to independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma, who was backed by the BJP.
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Later, talking to the media, Bishnoi said, “I have a list of seven former MLAs who are ready to join BJP. I can not reveal their names at this stage, but I will soon be discussing it with CM Khattar”.
About his association with BJP, Bishnoi said, “I had been part of the BJP in the party’s campaign in 2014 Lok Sabha polls when Modi became the prime minister. Although some differences cropped up, but there was no bitterness”.
Bishnoi’s Haryana Janhit Party had snapped three-year old ties with BJP during the 2014 Haryana Assembly polls. He had then accused the BJP of going back on its “promise” of projecting him as the CM candidate. Bishnoi had later merged his party with the Congress.
Bishnoi, meanwhile, lashed out at the Congress and said that the “party has lost it’s vision” and “is in a self-destructive mode”.
On Congress incharge of Haryana Vivek Bansal being sidelined, he said, “Bansal is an extremely hard working and honest leader. Sidelining him in Haryana, will be another suicidal step for the Congress”.
Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, too, attended the joining ceremony. Haryana BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar praised Bishnoi’s work and claimed that more and more people in the Congress’ state unit will find it difficult to remain in the party working in a stifling work culture. “Bishnoi and others who have joined BJP will be given responsibilities according to their seniority,” Dhankar added.
The Bishnoi couple later met BJP president J P Nadda at his residence. BJP is expecting that Bishnoi, son of Haryana’s former CM Bhajan Lal, would help the party further strengthen its non-Jat votebank in Haryana and Rajasthan.