In a move likely to embarrass the Congress, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's half-brother, Daljeet Singh Kohli, on Friday joined the BJP in the presence of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Kohli, a businessman based in Amritsar, joined the BJP when Modi came here to address a rally in favour of senior party leader Arun Jaitley, who is contesting from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.
At a rally held here, Kohli shared the dais with Modi and other senior BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal leaders. “Today, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s brother Daljeet Singh has joined the BJP. This will further strengthen us. We are not a membership party. We form blood relations,” Modi said, while welcoming Kohli into the BJP fold.
Kohli was also welcomed into the BJP by Jaitley and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The BJP and the Akali Dal are ruling partners in Punjab, as well as constituents of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
Kohli had remained apolitical even after his elder brother Manmohan Singh became prime minister in 2004 and got a second term in 2009.
PMO sources said Manmohan Singh’s family was “shocked” at the turn of events involving Kohli. “His intentions are not known but he is free to pursue his political career,” they said, adding the Prime Minister and Kohli have not been keeping in touch since long.
Later Surjit Singh Kohli, elder brother of Daljeet Singh, also said he was “shocked” at the development. Surjit , a local businessman, has been supporting the Congress.
Manmohan Singh is the only son and has six sisters, while Kohli is his step-brother, sources said. The Prime Minister’s mother died at an early age.