After an unceremonious exit from the Congress, former PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar is all set for a new innings as he joined the BJP in Delhi on Thursday afternoon.
Addressing the media after joining the saffron party, Jakhar said: “We have three generations in Congress. It was not an easy time for us. We always considered the Congress as family.”
He added: “Today, the BJP is inducting me only because Sunil Jakhar has not used politics for personal gains. I have never done politics of division. Today, there is a need for nationalism in the country. This feeling can only come with a feeling of unity.”
Jakhar said his decision to break ties with the Gandhis was not personal but in interest of stability of Punjab and to protect the state.
Sources close to Jakhar said he had been in Delhi for the last few days and was in deliberations with the top brass.
The Congress had decided to remove Jakhar from all party posts for two years a fortnight ago on the recommendation of the disciplinary action committee. The former Congress leader had since then been considering his political options.
He was not only upset with the way he was treated by the Congress high command but was also not happy over being issued a show-cause notice over alleged anti-party activities.
Jakhar had accused the Congress high command of listening to a “certain Punjab leader” on the matter of the CM’s appointment after Captain Amarinder Singh’s departure. He said even after three generations of his family had served in Congress for 50 years, he was “stripped of all party posts” for “not toeing the party line.”
In March, Jakhar had called former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi a liability for the party after the Congress had lost to the Aam Aadmi Party in the Assembly elections. “Not the top brass, but his [Channi’s] own greed pulled him and the party down,” Jakhar had said in a tweet.
Jakhar was among the frontrunners for the chief ministerial post after Amarinder Singh was unseated last year. The chances of his becoming the chief minister were scuttled after the statement of party leader Ambika Soni, who had said the party should go with a Sikh face.
Sources close to Jakhar added that he is likely to be given some responsibility in Punjab and would be instrumental to ensure that the BJP increases its footprint in Punjab prior to 2024 Lok Sabha polls.