Ex-Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh returns to Congress after 10 years with BJP

The mood of the country is changing because of the government’s wrong policies, said the 78-year-old leader

Updated - April 09, 2024 07:46 pm IST

Published - April 09, 2024 01:09 pm IST - New Delhi

Chaudhary Birender Singh joined Congress in New Delhi on April 9, 2024.

Chaudhary Birender Singh joined Congress in New Delhi on April 9, 2024. | Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap

Describing it as an “ideological homecoming”, former Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, who had quit the BJP, joined the Congress party on April 9.

Mr. Singh, who rejoined the party with his wife and former MLA Prem Lata after a decade in the BJP, claimed that he could sense that the tide was turning against the BJP.

Their joining came a month after their son Brijendra Singh, the incumbent MP from Hisar, joined the Congress after quitting the BJP.

The 78-year-old leader was the maternal grandson of farmer leader Sir Chhotu Ram and was Union Minister for Steel in the first government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also held the charge of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, and Drinking Water and Sanitation.

“It is not just my ghar wapsi [homecoming] but also vichar wapsi [ideological homecoming]. It is the return of my ideology. If we have to save democracy, we have to rise and speak up against the government,” Mr. Singh said.

“The mood is changing in the country and it is because of the wrong policies of the government,” he added.

Mr. Singh asserted that he did not believe in the politics of name-calling and did not speak ill of leaders or a party he had worked with.

“Five hours before inducting into the Cabinet, the Prime Minister met me. I told him that I am not one of those who would badmouth leaders and the party I have left behind,” he said, adding that he had informed the Prime Minister about his meeting with Sonia Gandhi on the day he had quit the Congress.

Stating that he had mostly done politics by asserting himself, even at the cost of annoying his seniors, Mr. Singh said the farming community had not benefited from the economic reforms ushered in by former Prime Minister, the late P.V. Narasimha Rao.

He said he had tried to resolve the issues that came up during the farmers’ agitation against the now-repealed laws but that the government was not interested. “But the BJP is far from reality and one should not expect anything from the BJP. They shed artificial tears for the poor and do not mean anything for them,” he alleged.

Mr. Singh and his associates were welcomed into the Congress by senior leaders, including former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Surjewala, Kumari Selja, Haryana party chief Uday Bhan, former Haryana Assembly Speaker Kiran Chaudhary, former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and AICC OBC Cell head Capt. Ajay Singh.

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