Veteran Punjab Cong leader Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi joins BJP
New Delhi (PTI): Veteran Punjab Congress leader Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi quit his party and joined the BJP on Tuesday, accusing the Congress of putting the state's "security and communal harmony at stake".
There is a grave danger to peace and communal harmony in the border state, he said, adding that only Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP can save Punjab.
Sodhi, a MLA for the last four terms and who is considered close to former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, announced his resignation from the Congress on Twitter and posted the letter sent to party president Sonia Gandhi.
"I cannot accept Punjab's suffocation and helplessness! Congress party has put state's security & communal harmony at stake. With deep agony, I put forth my resignation from all posts & primary membership of Congress party with immediate effect," he said.
Later, he joined the BJP in the presence of Union ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Bhupender Yadav at its headquarters here. The BJP has announced tie-up with Singh's party, the Punjab Lok Congress.
Noting that he had been in the Congress for over four decades, Sodhi expressed his frustration at the state of affairs in the party, especially Punjab, alleging that its senior leadership is "hell bent on destroying the border state for their personal gains".
He expressed anguish at the situation in Punjab and accused the Congress of working to divide it for votes.
He said he had also met Home Minister Amit Shah over the situation in the state. India needs such leadership, Sodhi said about the BJP top brass.
Recalling his association with Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, Sodhi alleged that the secular credentials of the Congress now stand demolished and rued its infighting.
Punjab needs a stable government which can save it and take everyone along, he said.
Shekhawat, who is the BJP's in-charge for the Punjab assembly polls slated in the next couple of months, lauded Sodhi's contribution to the state's politics, and said his presence will boost the party. Yadav also praised him.
Several other BJP leaders, including Union minister Som Parkash, Dushyant Kumar Gautam and Manjinder Singh Sirsa, were also present at his joining ceremony.