Former Punjab cabinet minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi Tuesday resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP in the presence of party chief J P Nadda in Delhi.
Rana Sodhi has been a confidant of former chief minister Amarinder Singh. A sitting MLA from Guru Har Sahai, Sodhi was dropped from the cabinet after the ouster of Amarinder.
Sodhi is the first sitting MLA and former cabinet minister to quit Congress ever since Amarinder left the party. he announced his resignation from the Congress on Twitter and posted the letter sent to party president Sonia Gandhi.
Capt Amarinder Singh, who has since quit the Congress to float the Punjab Lok Congress, has already announced a pre-poll alliance with the BJP.
The four-time legislator joined the BJP in the presence of central ministers Bhupender Yadav, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who is also the party’s Punjab election in-charge, and Som Prakash, and state affairs in-charge Dushyant Gautam at a press conference at the national headquarters of the party in Delhi.
Shekhawat, while welcoming the Guru Harsahai MLA into the party, said his joining the BJP will help the party in its endeavour for a new Punjab. Sodhi said the BJP was needed to save Punjab from heading into a dangerous situation. “I was in the Congress for 40 years, starting from the Youth Congress. The party was known for secularism, but not any longer as they are playing divisive politics for votes,” the former international trap shooter said, hitting out at his former party.
Before joining the BJP, Sodhi shot off a letter to the Congress to resign from all posts and primary membership of the party with immediate effect. “I am deeply hurt by the bickering and infighting within the Punjab Congress. This is harming the party and causing serious problems for the state and the government. I feel suffocated and helpless in the present situation, especially when the party has put the state’s security and communal harmony at stake,” he wrote.
He said that rather than taking action to restore peace in Punjab, the senior Congress leadership was hell bent on destroying the border state for its personal gains. The former minister also wrote that he was handpicked by Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi to contest his first election in 1985. Sodhi has won four consecutive elections from the Guru Harsahai assembly seat since 2002.