Will not quit BJP: Satpal Maharaj

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Dehradun, Apr 23: Former Congress heavyweight Satpal Maharaj, who recently defected to BJP, on Wednesday said his decision to join the saffron party was "well considered" and would never change.

The remarks came following speculation in the media that he might return to Congress after the Lok Sabha polls. "I have joined BJP after a lot of thinking. It is a well considered decision which cannot change. I am here to stay," Satpal told reporters.

Asked about reports that he would try to stoke a rebellion against Congress' Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand after the polls through MLAs loyal to him, the Pauri MP said he did not have any such intention.

Nearly half a dozen MLAs in the state assembly, including Satpal's wife Amrita Rawat who is a minister in the state Cabinet, are said to bear allegiance to the leader.

When asked about a disgruntled BJP leader's statement that his joining will not help the party, Satpal said, "My presence in the ranks of BJP will not only benefit the party in Uttarakhand but also in other states. Satpal won the Pauri Lok Sabha seat in the last general elections on a Congress ticket.

If elected, Modi will bring plan to develop Himalayas: Satpal

If voted to power, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will introduce a plan for the development of Himalayas, which will benefit hill states across the country, Pauri MP Satpal Maharaj said.

Satpal recently toured parts of West Bengal with Modi and attended some of his rallies in the region.

The MP said the BJP PM candidate "heartily welcomed" the idea of an 'Integrated Himalayan Development Plan' when he broached it to him at a rally in Bagdogra.

"Modi welcomed the idea with alacrity and announced at the rally itself that if voted to power, he will introduce an 'Integrated Himalayan Development Plan' which will benefit the hill states across the country, including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and all the Northeastern states," Satpal said.

Hailing a promise made in the BJP manifesto that 100 modern cities would be developed throughout the country, the new BJP entrant said one of these cities should be in Uttarakhand.

"If the British can develop places like Lansdowne, Mussoorie and Ranikhet in Uttarakhand, a government headed by BJP can develop an eco-friendly modern city in this hill state," the former Congress heavyweight said and even suggested that Gairsain in Chamoli district had the potential to be developed into a modern city.

Claiming that the "wave in favour of Modi" had become a "Tsunami" now, he said the Gujarat CM's coronation in Delhi was a certainty. "No one can stop him from becoming the Prime Minister as the Modi wave has now turned into a Tsunami.

The country wants to see him at the top," he said. Drawing a parallel between Modi and American President Barack Obama, Satpal said Modi would fill the leadership vacuum in India the way Obama did it in the US.

"Modi alone is qualified to become PM because he has the experience of running a state government and enjoys a direct contact with people," he said.

Expressing reservations about some of his party colleagues delivering hate speeches, Satpal advised them to practise restraint and use dignified language in their public speeches.

PTI

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