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Former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh joins BJP | India News

NEW DELHI: Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh formally joined the BJP on Monday. He has merged his newly formed party, Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) – which he had floated last year – with the saffron party.
The 80-year-old had formed his new party after quitting the Congress following his unceremonious exit as the chief minister. Singh was asked to step down as the chief minister of Punjab last September following a power tussle within the party.
After his induction, Amarinder spoke about the rising cross-border security threats in Punjab and said he wants to protect the state as well as the country, adding that BJP is the party that takes the issue seriously.
“Punjab is a border state, and I have seen our relations with Pakistan deteriorating … Drones are coming into our territory now to create complete chaos in Punjab. China is also not far from us. It’s our duty to protect our state and the country,” he said.
“When AK Antony was the defence minister [during UPA rule], but one arm was purchased for the Army. But weaponry is now coming. So it was our feeling that we should go to a party which thinks about the country,” the former chief minister said after joining BJP.
Earlier in the morning, Singh had met BJP national president JP Nadda in Delhi.
Last week, a PLC spokesperson had said that Singh, along with seven former MLAs and one ex-MP who had joined the PLC, will join the BJP in the presence of party president Nadda and other leaders in Delhi.
“Other office bearers and district presidents of the PLC will join the BJP in a separate event in Chandigarh next week,” PLC spokesperson Pritpal Singh had announced last Friday.
During the Punjab assembly polls this February, the PLC contested the elections in alliance with the BJP and the Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt). However, none of its candidates could register a win, with Singh himself losing from his home turf of Patiala Urban.
Recently, Singh had also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah after returning from London following a spinal surgery.
Before departing for London, Singh had conveyed his intention to merge his party with the BJP, senior Punjab BJP leader Harjit Singh Grewal had said in July. He had also said at the time that the former chief minister would announce the merger upon his return.
After his meeting with Shah on September 12, Singh had said he held a very productive discussion on various issues related to national security, rising cases of narco-terrorism in Punjab and the future roadmap for the state’s overall holistic development.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda on Monday termed Singh’s decision to join the BJP wrong as “after the farmers’ protest it will not be appreciated by people”.
The two-time former chief minister is the scion of the erstwhile Patiala royal family. He quit the Congress after being replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi last year.
However, the Congress was routed in the assembly polls this year in February with Channi losing both the seats he contested.
(With inputs from agencies)

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