Prominent Akali Dal leaders Sardar Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal and Sardar Jasjeet Singh Atwal, along with several others from Punjab, joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in New Delhi on April 9. They were formally inducted into the BJP’s camp in the presence of senior BJP leaders at the party’s national headquarters in the Capital.
Atwal, who quit the SAD to join the Bharatiya Janata Party, is the son of Charanjit Singh Atwal, who was the deputy speaker of the 14th Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009 and who also served as the speaker of the Punjab Assembly in the past.
Earlier, on April 8, CR Kesavan, the great-grandson of India’s first Indian Governor-General, C Rajagopalachari, joined the BJP. Kesavan resigned from Congress on February 23, saying that he has not even seen vestiges of the values that made him work for the party with dedication for over two decades.
Kesavan shared his resignation letter to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Twitter saying he could no longer concur with “what the party symbolises, stands for or seeks to propagate”.
His resignation came within a month of the desertion by former Union minister AK Antony’s son, Anil Antony, who parted ways with the party after coming out in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the controversial BBC documentary series.
Anil Antony joined the BJP on April 6, in the presence of Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and V Muraleedharan. Kerala BJP chief K Surendran and senior party leaders Tarun Chugh and Anil Baluni were also present on the occasion.
Earlier on April 7, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, joined the BJP here in the national capital. Reddy, who served as the last chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, joined the BJP in the presence of Union minister Prahlad Joshi, general secretary Arun Singh and MP K Laxman, at a function organised at the party headquarters.
Reddy became Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister on November 11, 2010, but resigned on March 10, 2014, to protest against the Congress party’s decision to bifurcate the state. The developments come ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha elections.