FORMER Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh joined the BJP here on Monday in the presence of senior party leaders Narinder Singh Tomar and Kiren Rijiju, and merged his Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) with the BJP.
He lauded the BJP for its commitment to national security and said this was one of the reasons of joining the ruling party at the Centre. Singh’s son Raninder Singh and daughter Jai Inder Kaur also joined the BJP.
Singh (80) had floated the PLC last year after quitting the Congress following his unceremonious exit as Chief Minister, but his party failed to win any seat in the State Assembly polls. He himself lost from his home turf of Patiala Urban. Along with Singh, former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly Ajaib Singh Bhatti, former MP Amrik Singh Aliwal, former legislators Harchand Kaur, Harinder Singh Thekedar, Prem Mittal and labour leader Kewal Singh also joined the BJP with scores of his supporters. The former advisor to Amarinder Singh, BIS Chahal, also joined the BJP. Later, Singh said that prior to his spine surgery abroad, he held discussions with his colleagues in Punjab Lok Congress, who told him that “if we want to see a future in Punjab, we need to join the BJP”. “Now is the time to do something for the country. We have seen the Congress, now it is time to go to the party that has been doing so much for the country and its security. It is a pleasure being here,” Singh told reporters.
Asked whether his wife Preneet Kaur would also join the BJP, he said “is it necessary for the wife to do what the husband is doing”, leaving everyone in laughter. To a question on whether he supported the completion of the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, he said, “My job is to fight for Punjab.” “Our ideology is the same,” he said, adding that Punjab faces threats from across the border in Pakistan.