CHANDIGARH: In yet another setback for the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) ahead of the Haryana Assembly polls, two of its sitting MLAs joined the ruling BJP here Tuesday.
The two INLD MLAs Parminder Dhull from the Julana constituency and Zakir Hussain from the Nuh segment joined the BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and state BJP president Subhash Barala.
Besides, Jannayak Janata Party's Rohtak district unit chief Dharampal Makroli also joined the BJP here on the occasion, Barala told reporters.
The two INLD MLAs said they had earlier in the day met the Haryana Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal in the Vidhan Sabha here and submitted their resignations.
With the joining of the two MLAs in the BJP, the INLD, which was until a few months ago the main opposition party in Haryana with as many as 19 members, has now been reduced to a mere seven MLAs.
Out of the 19 members, two of its legislators died during the past 10 months, out of which bypolls were held for one seat (Jind), which the party headed by former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, lost.
Among the remaining 17 MLAs, four switched over to the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), five have joined the BJP, including three who switched over to the saffron party before the parliamentary elections and one party legislator had joined the Congress earlier this year.
Both Khattar and Barala welcomed the two INLD legislators into the party fold.
Barala said their joining will further strengthen the party, while Khattar said "the BJP's family was expanding".
Khattar also mentioned how the ruling party's graph has been on the upswing after it came to power at the Centre in 2014 and then went onto form the government on its own for the first time in Haryana in October 2014.
He credited pro-people policies of the BJP governments at the Centre and in Haryana, saying people have backed these policies the results of which were also seen in the parliamentary polls when the party swept all the 10 seats in the state, he said.
Khattar exuded confidence that the BJP, which currently has a strength of 48 members in the 90-member Haryana Assembly, will cross the 75 seats in the assembly polls, which are due to be held in October.
Replying to a question that the BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is eyeing a larger chunk of seats for the state assembly polls, Khattar replied, "BJP and SAD are one family. When time comes, we will sit together and decide (on seat sharing issue between the two allies)."
Meanwhile, Hussain and Dhull's leaving the INLD will come as a severe jolt to the party as both were among the most vocal MLAs in the state assembly.
Hussain and Dhull said they have joined the BJP "unconditionally" as they were impressed by the style of functioning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Khattar.
The two INLD MLAs said they have full faith in the programmes and the policies of the BJP.
The INLD received a severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls and its candidates on all the 10 seats in Haryana lost security deposits.
The party had split last year due to a feud in the Chautala family.
Om Prakash Chautala's grandson and Hisar MP in the 16th Lok Sabha Dushyant Chautala had formed the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) after the family feud came out in the open.