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Behind the Latest ‘Induction’ in Punjab BJP is the Optics

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Finding itself enmeshed in difficult political circumstances triggered by the farmers’ agitation, the Punjab BJP is making several attempts to stay relevant in the changed political spectrum of the state. One such step was taken on Wednesday with the induction of what the party claims six ‘prominent’ Sikh personalities in the party ahead of the State Assembly elections.

Those who joined the party in Delhi include former president of AISSF Harinder Singh Kahlon, Advocate Jagmohan Singh Saini who is also the president of Farmers Intellectual Front (Patiala), Advocate Nirmal Singh from Mohali, Kuldeep Singh Kahlon (former AISSF) from Gurdaspur, former VC of Guru Kashi University Jaswinder Singh Dhillon, and Col Jaibans Singh from Patiala.

The BJP leaders admitted that those who were inducted may not be mass leaders but asserted that induction was important to win the perception game. “They are influencers and people with a great degree of achievement from the Sikh community. This will change the perception that the people of Punjab and more particularly Sikhs are angry with Prime Minister Modi,” said the General Secretary of the Punjab BJP, Subhash Sharma.

State leaders claim more “prominent personalities from social and political space” in Punjab will join the BJP in the days to come.

Senior party leaders admit that the present situation arising out of the farmers’ stir was challenging for them but insisted that a ‘turnaround’ is not impossible. “Right now there is anger and we accept it. But by gradually reaching out to the Sikh community we will try to win the perception battle also,” commented a leader.

The State-level leaders on Tuesday had met party president J P Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah in which, they are believed to have discussed the political situation in the State and the way forward for the party. Sources said that the State unit was also contemplating more responsibilities to some senior Dalit leaders in the party. “Also being thought about is putting leaders from that community at crucial posts in the state unit,” informed a party insider.

The party, in the days to come, also intends to carry out a campaign to highlight the benefits of the DBT to the farmers during the recently concluded Rabi season.

Heckled and not allowed to hold functions in their constituencies, many party leaders are believed to have voiced concern to the central leadership over the resistance they have been facing. But notwithstanding these challenges, the State unit intends to carry out a campaign to highlight the benefits of the DBT to the farmers during the recently concluded Rabi season.

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