CHANDIGARH, December 18: In a major development that is bound to have significant political implications two former Akali MLAs and the founding members of the People’s Party of Punjab Jagbir Singh Brar ex-MLA from Jallandhar Cantt, Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, ex-MLA from Faridkot and Sukhjit Singh ‘Kaka’ Lohgarh, member SGPC from Dharamkot today joined the Congress.
They were welcomed into the party by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Capt Amarinder Singh in presence of the party incharge Thakur Gulchain Singh Charak, the Congress Legislative Party leader Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and other senior party leaders.
Announcing their joining the party Capt Amarinder said, the three leaders had reposed unconditional faith and confidence in the ideals and principles of the party and hoped that their being with the Congress will further strengthen the party. He said, this was just a beginning and several more people, particularly from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bhartiya Janata Party were also in touch with the party and may join in due course of time.
Speaking on the occasion Jagbir Brar and Kushaldeep Dhillon said, having worked with the Akali Dal and later with Manpreet Badal, they had come to the conclusion that the Congress was the only political party which was run in a secular and democratic way. They maintained that while the Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal was already like a family run business, the PPP led by Manpreet Badal was proving to be no different.
Dhillon remarked about Manpreet, “although we could manage to get Manpreet out of Akali Dal, but we could not manage to get Badal out of Manpreet”. He revealed that Manpreet still had a weakness and soft corner for his uncle, the senior Badal and he will not be surprised if he returns to the Akali Dal.
Jagbir Brar leveled serious allegations of financial misappropriation against Manpreet Badal. He said, there was no transparency in the maintenance of accounts. He particularly mentioned Manpreet’s foreign trip from where he collected at least $50,000 and there was no account as where did that money go and how was it spent.
Both Dhillon and Brar said, the PPP was formed primarily with two main principles that there will not be any nepotism and the party will not be the family owned business besides transparency in accounts. “Manpreet failed on both counts”, they said, while regretting that the ideals set by Manpreet at the time of forming the party were given up by him quite soon.
Dhillon said, the PPP was fast turning into a family run business with Manpreet’s wife and her brother calling shots in the party.
Kaka Lohgarh, who recently won the SGPC elections from Dharamkot constituency as an independent candidate said, he had always served the SAD, but ultimately he had found that the party was serving the interest of only a select few. He said, there was total disillusionment within the Akali Dal and leaders and workers were feeling suffocated.
The party leadership appreciated the efforts of the PCC general secretary Arvind Khanna and Rampura Phul MLA Gurpreet Singh Kangar in bringing around these leaders to join the Congress.
Prominent among those present on the occasion included Avtar Singh Brar, Joginderpal Jain (both MLAs) Surinder Kumar Gupta the DCC president Faridkot and Ms Harchand Kaur, the DCC president Moga, Lali Dhillon and others.