Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa on Wednesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab.
Sirsa joined the party in the presence Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda and other senior leaders. “Honouring my commitment to raise issues of nation, my community and humanity, today I join BJP,” he tweeted.
A prominent Sikh leader, Sirsa was also the chief of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee but he resigned from the post earlier in the day, citing personal reasons.
After joining the BJP, Sirsa said that there were several problems concerning the Sikh community and he has discussed some of them with Shah, reported the Hindustan Times. “I am happy to inform you that the minister said that he wants to address all these issues,” the two-time MLA said.
He said there was not even one university for the Sikh community in Delhi due to “weak leadership”.
“What’s the point if the concerns of the community, which fights on the borders, are not addressed for years?” he asked.
Shah said that Sirsa has shown trust towards the BJP’s commitment for the Sikh community’s welfare under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. “I am sure his joining the party will further strengthen this resolve,” he tweeted.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who is in charge of BJP for the Assembly polls, said Sirsa’s induction will definitely be helpful in the upcoming elections, reported PTI.
The Shiromani Akali Dal, which had quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance last year over the now-repealed three contentious farm laws, hit out at the BJP.
Shiromani Akali Dal spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema alleged that the BJP arm-twisted Sirsa into joining the party by involving him in false cases.
“Sirsa has been fighting for issues related to the Sikhs under difficult circumstances but our party feels sad that he succumbed to the pressure this time,” Cheema claimed. “However, other leaders of our party including Akali Dal’s Delhi unit President Harmeet Singh Kalka are standing tall against the odds.”
Unidentified BJP leaders told NDTV that the party was contacting many Sikh leaders like Sirsa ahead of the Assembly elections. The party’s strategy for the polls is to tap Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, who are not happy with the parties, to increase its prospects, according to NDTV.