CHANDIGARH: Sufi singer and Dalit leader Hans Raj Hans on Saturday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi to everyone’s surprise and termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ‘Faqir’.
He joined the saffron party in the presence of its president Amit Shah and national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargia, but the party's Punjab unit had no idea of it.
Hans had joined the Congress in February, and his name was being considered by the party for the Jagraon seat. Before that, he was with the Shiromani Akali Dal.
Hans said, “I still have very high and warm regards for Capt Amarinder Singh, but I did not enjoy being in the party. It is ghar wapsi for me as BJP and the Akali Dal are one.”
When asked why he chose the BJP, he said, “I have always been impressed with Prime Minister Modi’s humility. He is like a ‘faqir’, who has left his home for the betterment of the people. I visited Gujarat after the earthquake and had even helped him collect 2.5 million dollars for rehabilitation purpose. Then when he had come to Punjab as Gujarat Chief Minister, he praised me. We have an old association and that is why I joined the BJP.”
Soon after Hans joined the Congress the Punjab Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh, wanted him to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha but instead another Dalit leader, SS Dullo, was nominated. Hans had been unhappy since then with the party leadership.
Last month he surprised everyone by taking a deviating stand from the Congress on the SYL Canal issue and supporting the move of the SAD-BJP to de-notify the land, going up to the extent of calling it a historic day for Punjab. But he had then maintained that it was his personal view and should not be taken otherwise.
Hans had unsuccessfully contested on the SAD ticket from Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat in 2009 after which he announced shunning politics for good, but remained in politics and Akali Dal. He raised the banner of revolt against SAD Chief Sukhbir Badal when Pawan Tinu was given ticket from Adampur. He was placated by Sukhbir but it did not work for long. His brother-in-law Paramjit Pamma had been given the ticket by Akali Dal for the Kapurthala general seat for the forthcoming Assembly polls.
Meanwhile Punjab Congress said singer Hans Raj Hans’ decision to quit the Congress and join the BJP ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls smacked of opportunism. Congress leader Dr. Raj Kumar Verma said the singer appeared to have abandoned the Valmiki community and cause in order to climb the Hindutva bandwagon. It was evident, he said, that the move was motivated not by any principle but by a desire for personal gain.