In a major jolt to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), two of its sitting MLAs on Tuesday joined the Punjab Congress, extending to Captain Amarinder Singh their full support in the forthcoming assembly elections.
Capt welcomed MLAs Rajinder Kaur Bhagike from Nihal Singh Wala and Mahesh Inder Singh from Bagha Purana, along with SAD leader Darshan Kotbhai and social activist from Phillaur, Ajay Sharma, into the Congress fold in New Delhi.
Kotbhai had lost narrowly to the Congress candidate in the last election.
Expressing their disillusionment and anger with the Akali leadership, the sitting MLAs said they had always been loyal to the party but could not allow themselves to be slaves to the Badals.
Not only were they deprived tickets to contest the forthcoming assembly polls but were also threatened and terrorised, they said.
Welcoming them unconditionally in the party fold, Captain Amarinder Singh said the Punjab Congress had been strengthened by their joining.
He reiterated that the exodus of leaders and workers from SAD and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would further increase as the elections drew closer, especially after the imposition of the Code of Conduct in Punjab.