‘With the roping in of the Captain, a prominent Sikh face, the BJP would be able to make inroads in rural Punjab’.
NEW DELHI: Former Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh will be joining BJP next week by merging his splinter party Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) with the saffron party. Sources said that the reason why Captain Amarinder Singh is being roped into the BJP is because the Captain is a perfect fit for the BJP.
According to some BJP insiders, there are two factors which make Captain Amarinder Singh a perfect fit for the saffron party. First, he is a Sikh face, which the party needed after Akali Dal (Badal) parted ways in September 2020. Second is Captain Amarinder Singh’s “nationalistic image”.
Also, with the roping in of the Captain, a prominent Sikh face, the party wants to make inroads in rural Punjab, where the party has lagged in terms of garnering votes.
Captain Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s Akali Dal (Sanyukt) fought the Punjab Assembly elections with BJP. However, PLC and Akali Dal (S) drew zero, but the BJP managed to win two seats in the Assembly elections. “We were in a pre-poll alliance with the PLC and many of us knew that Captain Amarinder Singh would soon join BJP. But I haven’t received any official communication from the party. I got to know about this via media,” said a senior BJP functionary from the Ludhiana region.
With Captain Amarinder Singh, six former Congress MLAs and one MP would also join BJP in the national capital. Soon after the Captain’s induction, other office bearers and district presidents of PLC will also join the saffron party in a separate event in Chandigarh.
BJP is on an expansion spree in the state and keeping the Lok Sabha elections in mind, the party will try to accommodate those Congress leaders who have recently joined the BJP and this could irk other party leaders. Last year before the Assembly elections, Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Fateh Jung Bajwa and Balwinder Singh Laddi, all sitting MLAs from Congress, joined BJP. Later, after the Punjab Assembly elections, former ministers Raj Kumar Verka, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Sunder Sham Arora and Gurpreet Singh Kangar joined the BJP. According to sources, the party will try to accommodate these leaders. Various reports are citing that current BJP state president Ashwani Sharma could be replaced after his term is going to end in January 2023. The Sunday Guardian reached out to a senior functionary to know more about this issue. “I think the party won’t replace Sharma with the Captain,” a senior leader said. According to sources, the party is looking for a young face for the president’s post.