Sunil Jakhar joins BJP

NEW DELHI, May 19: Former Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar joined the BJP today, days after he quit the grand old party, and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accept him into the party fold.
Jakhar, a prominent Hindu leader in Punjab, joined the BJP in the presence of party president J P Nadda. The 68-year-old leader had quit the Congress last week with a “good luck and good bye” message.
Welcoming him to the BJP, Nadda said Jakhar enjoyed a special stature in Punjab that was independent of the party and will help the BJP strengthen nationalist forces in the border state.
“BJP is emerging as the number one nationalist force in Punjab. Hence it is necessary for all leaders having nationalist ideology to join the BJP to strengthen the party and for a stronger Punjab,” Nadda said.
Belonging to the Jat community, Sunil, son of a Congress stalwart and a popular farmers’ leader Balram Jakhar, is a three-term MLA and a former Lok Sabha member from Gurdaspur.
Addressing the media after joining the BJP, he lashed out at the Congress, accusing it of insulting the spirit of brotherhood in Punjab by trying to divide the state in terms of percentages of castes, communities and religion.
Jakhar became emotional as he recalled the five-decade association of his family with the Congress and said that he had decided to quit the party the day attempts were made to silence his voice by issuing a show-cause notice for making certain remarks.
“It is not easy to break a relationship with the Congress that spanned three generations – from 1972 till now. We had been with the Congress in good times and bad,” he said.
Jakhar said he had stood by every relationship based on principles. “But, when principles are broken, when we move away from our ideology, then I believe it is the right time for a re-think,” he said.
“If Sunil Jakhar had to break a 50-year relationship… There were some fundamental issues. There was no personal dispute. The dispute was regarding nationalism and the integrity of Punjab. The harmony of the state which could not be broken by bullets of AK-47 rifles,” he said.
“I had to leave with a heavy heart after I was put in the dock for asserting that Punjab cannot be divided on the basis of caste, sects and religion,” Jakhar said. (PTI)