Senior Congress leader to announce decision on joining BJP in Aug 16 rally

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Chandigarh, Aug 11: Senior Congress leader Birender Singh, who is set to part ways with the party to join rival party, on Monday

said he will announce his next step at the rally scheduled in his home town Jind on August 16, to which BJP chief Amit Shah has also been invited. Singh had met Shah in Delhi last month fuelling speculations that he may switch over to the saffron camp.

The veteran leader and Rajya Sabha MP, who has openly revolted against Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and was removed from the party's working committee last month, however, said that he has so far not quit the Congress. "I have so far not quit Congress or joined BJP. I have said that I will make an announcement on my next step at the function to be held at Jind," Singh said.

The Jind rally is being organised by Yuva Shakti, a youth organisation started by the supporters of Singh. He said that there were some leaders in the Congress camp, including former Union Minister Kumari Selja, who felt that the party would reach out to him. "I have clearly said that stage has crossed. That stage is over now. I am now focusing on the rally," he said. Singh quitting the party would be another jolt to Congress in Haryana which faced a series of desertions in the election year. Polls are due in October in the state.

Singh was removed from Congress Working Committee last month after dissenting

Hitting out at Hooda, Singh said, "Congress in Haryana is no longer the party it used to be. It has now become Hooda's Congress." He alleged that Hooda had centralised powers and it was one of the reason why the Congress had fared poor in the Lok Sabha polls. Congress managed to win only one seat out of total ten LS seats in the state. "I had demanded that Hooda should be changed so that Congress's prospects in the polls could improve, but that did not happen... now I am not going to contest future election on Congress symbol," he said.

Meanwhile, even as Birender is yet to bid adieu to Congress, big advertisement hoardings and posters have been erected at Uchana town in Jind district, in which he is seen sharing space with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. A prominent leader from Haryana's Banger area, he has over the past one year openly criticised Hooda from several platforms for alleged lopsided development.


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