BJP anticipating mass exodus from Punjab unit ahead of polls

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) With its former state minister Anil Joshi likely to join former alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the BJP is anticipating a mass exodus from Punjab unit in the run-up to the next year’s Assembly polls.
BJP insiders believe that most of the wavering leaders, who are in touch with rival parties, are non-Sikh leaders of its state unit.
“While in alliance with the SAD, the BJP leadership only focussed in developing Hindu or non-Sikh leadership in Punjab. Some of these non-Sikh leaders are planning to leave the BJP,” a party leader said.
In July, the BJP has expelled Joshi from the party for six years after he criticised the Central and state leadership for mishandling the ongoing farmers agitation.
A senior BJP leader said that the state leadership has learnt that Joshi and few others are likely to join the SAD in coming days.
“It is in our knowledge that some of our leaders are in touch with the opposition parties and some of them are likely to jump the ship and go join our rivals,” he said.
It is learnt that a former MLA and others are all set to leave the BJP along with Joshi in coming days.
A senior functionary said that party leadership believes that a mass exodus will take place in coming months till Punjab Assembly polls.
Another party insider claimed that exodus of non-Sikh and Hindu leaders will weaken the party, which trying to strengthen itself on the ground after its decades-old alliance with the SAD ended. In local bodies election held earlier, the BJP faced a humiliating defeat.
“While in alliance with SAD, we (BJP) focussed in strengthening the party in urban areas but ignored the rest of state. There are many areas in state where we have technically no presence. The exodus of our leaders will weaken our preparation for next year’s Assembly polls,” he said.
Another leader claimed that the state leadership is trying to convince these leaders to not leave the BJP.
On the other hand, calling such leaders “opportunists”, a BJP leader said instead of serving people, they are more concerned about to remain in power.
“Instead of hard work on the ground and winning people’s support, they are trying to find out easy way to get in power and for that they are going to join the rivals’ camp. We will win the next year’s Assembly polls with the people’s support and hard work of our workers,” he said.

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