New Delhi: Haryana Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi, who had cross-voted in last month’s Rajya Sabha polls, on Sunday met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda, triggering speculation that he may join the ruling party. The 53-year-old legislator from Adampur met with the BJP leaders in New Delhi and later, heaped praises on them. He was expelled by the Congress from all party positions last month.
Since then, he has been warming up to the BJP. Bishnoi also removed his pictures with Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi from his Twitter profile, replacing them with photos with his father, former Haryana chief minister late Bhajan Lal.
Bishnoi, a four-time MLA and two-time MP, has been sulking ever since the Congress ignored him for the post of its Haryana unit chief during a revamp earlier this year.
The party appointed Udai Bhan, a loyalist of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, as its Haryana unit chief.
In a tweet in Hindi, Bishnoi said it was a “real honor and pleasure to meet Amit Shah”.
“A true statesman, I felt his aura and charisma in my interactions with him. His vision for India is awe-inspiring,” he wrote.
Bishnoi added that he felt “very proud” to meet Nadda.
“His easy-going and humble nature sets him apart,” he said.
Bishnoi said the BJP has seen unprecedented heights under Nadda, who has ably led the party. “I wish him good health and a long life.” A week after cross-voting, Bishnoi posted a cryptic tweet saying, “I know how to crush a snake’s hood. I do not leave the jungle in fear of snakes.” Reacting to being expelled by the Congress from all party positions on June 11, Bishnoi tweeted, “Congress also has rules for some leaders and exceptions for others. Rules are applied selectively. Indiscipline has been repeatedly ignored in the past. In my case, I listened to my soul and acted on my morals.” Last month, Bishnoi said he was consulting with his supporters to decide on his next course of action.
Asked if he was in touch with BJP leaders, Bishnoi had said his next step would be in the interests of the people of Haryana and his constituency.
The Congress, which is the main opposition party in Haryana, was assured of one Rajya Sabha seat by virtue of the number of MLAs it has in the 90-member assembly. However, Congress candidate Ajay Maken failed to secure the berth after Bishnoi cross-voted, while the vote of an MLA was declared invalid.
BJP’s Krishan Lal Panwar and the saffron party-backed Independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma were elected to the two Rajya Sabha seats from Haryana.
Bishnoi and his father Bhajan Lal had floated the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) in 2007 after the Congress handpicked Bhupinder Singh Hooda for the chief minister’s post following the party’s thumping victory in the 2005 assembly polls.
The HJC later entered into a tie-up with the BJP and two other parties, who jointly contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Haryana. They were supposed to contest the assembly polls together as well, but the alliance crumbled.
Around six years ago, the HJC returned to the fold of the grand old party. However, despite his return to the Congress, Bishnoi and Hooda never had warm relations.
Bishnoi had last month said that under Hooda’s leadership, the Congress’ ship has been sinking. To this, the former chief minister replied, “I do not need anyone’s certificate. It is the people who gave me a certificate and they elected me with a big margin even when the Congress was in opposition in the 2019 polls.”