In a blow to the BJP in Haryana, Pradeep Sangwan, who had resigned from the party after being denied a ticket from the Sonepat parliamentary constituency, on Wednesday joined the ruling Congress.

Mr. Pradeep (43), son of Kishan Singh Sangwan, who remained MP from Sonepat thrice, announced his decision at Gohana in the presence of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Mr. Sangwan, who had decided to run as an Independent candidate, called to withdraw his candidature to support Congress nominee Jagbir Malik.

“I have joined the Congress. The BJP back stabbed our family. They ignored the family of a tall leader like my father, who had a clean image and was instrumental in building the BJP’s base in Sonepat region.

I have also worked hard over the years for this party, but today people who worked tirelessly for them have been ignored and sidelined not just in Sonepat, but in other parts of Haryana as well. Opportunists and turncoats with poor or no track record of working for the masses have been fielded by the BJP in Haryana on most seats,” Mr. Sangwan said.

He , who was a front runner from Sonepat was ignored by the BJP who fielded turncoat Ramesh Kaushik (48) from the Jat dominated constituency.

Mr. Kaushik, a former Congress leader had joined the BJP last year. Barring Hisar and Sirsa, which are being contested by its ally the Haryana Janhit Congress, the BJP has put up its candidates on the remaining eight Lok Sabha seats in the State.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sangwan said Sonepat BJP district youth, women, Scheduled Caste and farmer cells presidents and some other leaders also resigned from the party on Wednesday to protest against its decision to field Mr. Kaushik.

They all announced to join the Congress party, he said.

Later, addressing the public gathering at Gohana, Mr. Sangwan accused the BJP leadership of ditching the thousands of its workers.

Chief Minister welcomed Mr. Sngwan and all other new entrants and assured them due regard and position.

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