BJP eyes ‘social influencers’ in Punjab, inducts six

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH:  Bearing the brunt of widespread public anger in Punjab over the central farm laws, the BJP is finding it difficult to get new allies in the state even though it’s apparently not averse to fresh tie-ups after its break-up with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) last year. 

The party is now eyeing splinter political groups and paratroopers from other parties. But more importantly, it’s keen on inducting ‘influencers’ to broaden its social base in the state ahead of the 2022 assembly elections next. In accordance with this strategy, the BJP on Wednesday welcomed into its fold six Sikh faces a day after the party brass took stock of the political situation in Punjab.

Those who joined the party at its headquarters in the national capital in the presence of state BJP chief Ashwani Sharma and state affairs in-charge Dushyant Gautam included former vice-chancellor of Guru Kashi University Jaswinder Singh Dhillon, Col (retd) Jaibans Singh, advocates Harinder Singh Kahlon, Jagmohan Singh Saini and Nirmal Singh and Kuldeep Singh Kahlon, a former president of the All-India Sikh Students Federation.

Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the party will gain strength in the state with the new set of leaders joining its ranks and they would help in dispelling the misconceptions. “The BJP has a vision of prosperous Punjab. The party will keep striving for such a state. There are some anti-social elements who work to create social strife,” said Shekhawat in an apparent reference to the protests saffron party leaders are facing in Punjab. 

However, a state BJP leader said these new faces are not mass leaders this will harm the party more, but it “feels their joining is significant in terms of perception”.