Congress leader Balli joins BJP, four AAP men also switch sides

Former Delhi minister Harsharan Singh Balli on Tuesday quit the Congress to rejoin the BJP, admitting that leaving the saffron party last year was a mistake.

Four AAP leaders, including the new party’s founding member Ashwani Upadhyay, also joined the BJP alleging team Arvind Kejriwal had deviated from the mission of fighting corruption.

“We want swaraj” is just a slogan to be seen on caps of Aam Aadmi Party leaders, said Upadhyay, alleging that Kejriwal left thousands of supporters disillusioned by unilaterally running the party like the chiefs of the Samajwadi Party  and Bahujan Samaj Party.

The BJP-joining function, tactically used by the saffron party to project a growing craze to join the outfit ahead of Assembly polls, also saw a Congress leader and Valmiki community activist, Deepak Kumar, switching loyalty.

At the function, singer Shankar Sahney also sang a few lines of  the BJP’s upcoming poll song which would be played on about 400 digital screen-enabled mini-vans – some of which were stationed at the Delhi BJP office.

While BJP national vice-president and MP Prabhat Jha and Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay pointed to the growing trend of people unconditionally joining  the BJP, an elderly ex-serviceman and self-proclaimed colleague of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, caused a flutter at the press briefing venue by publically seeking an entry into the saffron party.

The BJP leaders were only happy to oblige Mangolpuri-resident Subedar Bhagwan Singh, who participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

Balli, 66, who served in the BJP government in mid-1990s as industries minister, said: “My frustration and selfishness drove me to leave the BJP. It was a mistake and I repent it.”
The four time MLA and prominent Sikh leader – known for his hold over Hari Nagar constituency – said: “I want to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to build a strong country.”

He said he did not join the BJP to get an Assembly ticket and vowed to work for the win of the saffron party’s official candidate from Hari Nagar.

Balli quit the BJP after he was denied a ticket for the Hari Nagar seat in the December 2013 Delhi Assembly polls. He then contested the election on the Congress ticket and finished third in a contest won by the AAP candidate.

At the BJP-joining function, AAP leader Ashwani Upadhyay was accompanied by party colleagues Subhash Talwar, Rajesh Gupta and Salil Kumar, an IITian from Gujarat.
Ashwani Upadhyay said he resigned from the AAP on Tuesday itself and posted his resignation to Kejriwal before coming to the BJP office.

He said he and his colleagues were connected with Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement and came into politics to stop the degradation of social and national values due to “caste, corruption, crime and communalism”.

BJP neta joins AAP
BJP member and former chairman of the SDMC Kartar Singh Tanwar on Tuesday joined the AAP ranks along with six other leaders from BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress.

The former chairman said that he will expose the BJP ‘misdeeds’ in the MCD, which the saffron party has been ruling since seven years. Tanwar was elected a councillor for the second consecutive term from ward number 24, Bhati (Chattarpur) in South Delhi.

BSP leaders Sharad Kumar Chauhan and Reeta Chauhan, Congress’ Dharampal Lakra and former BJP leader Vijay Bansal also joined the party.

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