Staff Correspondent

SHIMLA: Former BJP Minister and a scion of the erstwhile Kullu State Karan Singh on Tuesday formally joined the Congress in the presence of Himachal PCC chief Kaul Singh and hundreds of supporters in Kullu.

Mr. Singh was upset at having been denied the party ticket in the recently held Vidhan Sabha elections. Before joining the Congress, he also had a brief stint in the Bahujan Samaj Party but was finally goaded by the Congress leaders to strengthen the main opposition party in the State. This is a second setback to the ruling BJP which had suffered a major loss in Hamirpur when Narender Thakur, son of a party founder Jagdev Chand, left the party and joined the Congress a fortnight ago. A former district BJP president, Mr. Narender Thakur can pose a stiff challenge to the BJP in the home district of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal where it has been a one-sided affair so far in favour of the BJP.

The State BJP, led by Mr. Dhumal, had preferred Mr. Thakur’s sister-in-law, Urmil Thakur, to him and made her the party nominee. Mr. Thakur, though ignored, worked selflessly for his party keeping in mind his Sangh background and this was appreciated by the party cadres.