Former Congress leader Kuldeep Bishnoi on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. The development came a day after he resigned as MLA from the Haryana Assembly.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was present when Bishnoi joined the BJP.
Bishnoi was the Congress MLA from the Adampur constituency in the Hisar district, but was expelled from all posts in the party after he cross-voted for an Independent candidate backed by the BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections held in June.
The 53-year-old voted for Kartikeya Sharma instead of Congress leader Ajay Maken, who lost the elections.
After Bishnoi voted for the BJP-backed candidate, Khattar had said that the Congress legislator had shown faith in the principles and policies of the BJP.
Before the Rajya Sabha elections took place, the Congress had taken several of its MLAs to a resort in Chhattisgarh in a bid to thwart poaching attempts by rival parties. However, Bishnoi, a four-time MLA and two-time MP, did not go to the resort.
He had also stayed away from other party events, including the Chintan Shivir, an introspection meeting, that took place in Udaipur in May. This was after the Congress revamped its Haryana unit and overlooked him for the post of state chief.
‘Modi is best PM’
On Thursday, Bishnoi claimed that the Congress has gone astray from its ideology and needs a revival strategy in order to face the BJP.
“I wanted to join BJP for a long time now, still I wanted to give them [Congress] one more chance as I had been a Congressman for a long time,” Bishnoi said. “But what can one do if Congress is in a self-destruction mode?”
He also hailed Narendra Modi as the best Indian prime minister and praised Khattar for having a spotless reputation despite being chief minister for over eight years, PTI reported.
Bishnoi is the younger son of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Bishnoi.
This is the second time that Bishnoi has quit the Congress, nearly six years after he made a return to the party.
In 2007, Bishnoi along with his father, had launched the Haryana Janhit Congress after the Congress announced Bhupinder Singh Hooda as the chief minister.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Haryana Janhit Congress had formed an alliance with the BJP and two other parties. However, the alliance broke before the polls. Bishnoi returned to the Congress six years ago.