After having managed to get several disgruntled senior Congress leaders to join, the Bharatiya Janata Party in Punjab is now planning to get into a major consolidation mode with attempts to rope in former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh into its fold, News18 has learnt.
Reliable sources said that both the BJP and the Captain had finalised an agreement to merge the former CM’s Punjab Lok Congress into the saffron party. Singh had floated the party last year ahead of the state assembly elections after he was removed as chief minister by the Congress. The Captain and his party failed to make any substantial gains in the elections, raising question marks over his move.
“It would have been better off for Captain to have merged with the BJP and carried out a full-throttle campaign. It makes sense for the former chief minister to come on board now since many of his former colleagues including Sunil Jakhar have joined the party,” said a leader.
Sources said that after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had withdrawn the three contentious farm laws last year, the BJP was no longer seen as a “pariah” in the political landscape of the state and it was easier now for leaders interested in joining to cross over.
Captain Amarinder is presently recovering from back surgery in London and is expected to return to the state within ten days. Sources said that the 89-year-old former CM has been holding talks with the BJP’s top brass and his entry into the party fold could happen once he is back.
“The modalities are being worked out but it seems very likely that instead of working as a separate entity he could do well being part of the BJP,” said a leader.
BJP sources said that his entry could give a fillip to attempts by the party to make inroads in Punjab before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Sources said that the Punjab BJP after having managed to get several former leaders from other parties to join believes it can make some gains. Though it finished fourth in the recently held Sangrur bypolls, it ended up ahead of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) from a constituency where it had been traditionally faring poorly.