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Punjab top leader Sunil Jakhar joins BJP, three days after quitting Congress

Sunil Jakhar will be a formidable Hindu face, with no baggage, for the BJP in a state where it is trying to find its feet without former ally Akali Dal. While he belongs to a prominent Jat family, Jakhar enjoys the support of other communities in the state as well.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 20, 2022 2:28:41 am
Punjab Congress leader Sunil Jakhar joins the BJP in the presence of party president JP Nadda in New Delhi on Thursday. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

Former Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar, who quit the party on May 14 with a “good luck and good bye”, joined the BJP in Delhi on Thursday.

BJP president J P Nadda welcomed Jakhar into the party fold. Jakhar is learnt to have had a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday, with the BJP reportedly keen to have Jakhar in the party.

Jakhar will be a formidable Hindu face, with no baggage, for the BJP in a state where it is trying to find its feet without former ally Akali Dal. While he belongs to a prominent Jat family, Jakhar enjoys the support of other communities in the state as well.

Jakhar had announced his resignation from the Congress on Facebook Live, which coincided with the second day of the party’s Chintan Shivir in Rajasthan, to talk about reviving the party.

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In a hard-hitting address lasting more than half an hour, Jakhar had questioned Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s handling of party affairs and expressed anguish over the show-cause notice to him after 50 years of association with the party.

He was also critical of senior Congress leadership, including Ambika Soni, former Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat, and current in-charge Harish Chaudhary. Mincing no words, Jakhar had advised Gandhi family to be wary of “sycophants” and take the lead to revive the Congress, saying it had been reduced from once “khaat pe charcha” to “khatiya”.

The three-time MLA and one-time MP had been served show-cause notice on April 11 for “not toeing the party line” and making remarks against senior leadership of the party. Jakhar was supposed to respond to the notice in a week’s time. He however never responded to the notice and insisted that top leadership of the party should have spoken to him instead of issuing the notice.

BJP president J P Nadda welcomes Sunil Jakhar into the party fold. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

Announcing his resignation, Jakhar had said that his ties with the Congress got snapped the day the notice was issued to him, but that he had waited to make the formal announcement due to his long association with the party and his personal equations with Rahul Gandhi.

While he belongs to a prominent Jat family, Sunil Jakhar enjoys the support of other communities in the state as well. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

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