Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithiya’s media advisor and spokesperson of Damdami Taksal Professor Sarchand Singh Bhangu, along with other prominent SAD leaders, on Wednesday (12 January), joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of Union Cabinet Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat at the party’s main election office in Jalandhar, Punjab.
Among others who joined the BJP alongside Bhangu include former MLA Didar Singh Bhatti and his son Gurvinder Singh Bhatti - a core member of the SAD, former MLA Satwant Singh Mohi, SAD sports wing president Rajpal Chauhan and Zone President Student Organisation of India Shiromani Akali Dal Amritpal Singh Dalli, who also happen to be the grandnephew of recently expelled senior Akali leader Mohinder Kaur Josh, a three-time MLA from Sham Chaurasi.
The defection, triggered mainly by the resentment against the SAD after the recent ticket denials, occurred just days after Majtihiya was granted bail in the ongoing drugs case - for which an FIR had been lodged against him. This comes as a major setback for the SAD ahead of the Punjab assembly elections due next month.
Along with Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Sekhawat, Union Cabinet Minister Som Parkash, Lok Sabha MP Hans Raj Hans, BJP’s state general secretary Jeevan Gupta among others, were also present on the occasion.
Sarchand stated that he has joined the BJP in acknowledgement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to address the long-standing concerns of the Sikh community, including ‘punishment’ to the accused of 1984 anti-Sikh riots and opening of the Kartarpur corridor.
It must be noted that while most Sikh religious bodies, including the SGPC, condemned the recent declaration of the Prime Minister to observe 26 December as ‘Veer Baal Diwas’, the Damdami Taksal was one of the few prominent Sikh organisations that hailed PM Modi’s decision. Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhumma himself hailed PM Modi’s declaration as a fitting tribute to the martyrdom of the two young sons of Guru Gobind Singh - Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh.
The Damdami Taksal is a Sikh educational organisation and a prominent voice on panthic issues in the state, which was once headed by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
Talking to the media, BJP Punjab affairs in-charge Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, when asked about the party’s chief ministerial face, said that the party doesn’t have any such tradition. He informed that the BJP will soon declare its candidate as the selection process is underway. Taking a dig at Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Siddhu, Shekhawat said, “Congress party itself can’t take Sidhu seriously because he can speak against anyone with the same words.”
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