Denied ticket, Moga MLA joins BJP: ‘Unfortunate that Cong fooled by Sonu Sood’

Within two hours of Congress releasing its first list of 86 candidates for February 14 Punjab polls, denying ticket to four sitting legislators, one of them — Moga MLA Harjot Kamal — reached the BJP office in Chandigarh and embraced the saffron party.

The ruling party has fielded Malvika Sood Sachar, the sister of actor and philanthropist Sonu Sood, from the Moga Assembly seat. Malvika had joined the Congress on January 10 and Kamal, who was elected to the assembly for the time in 2017, had immediately raised the banner of revolt announcing that he would contest from his constituency with or without Congress ticket.

Kamal joined BJP in the presence of party’s Punjab affairs in-charge and Union minister Gajendra Shekhawat, national general secretary Tarun Chugh and state president Ashwani Sharma.

Stating that he worked for the Congress for 21 years, the sitting Moga legislator told The Indian Express, that the party has disrespected and humiliated him by denying the ticket. He added that he was forced to take the step because both Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and state Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu did not even consider it necessary to meet him once before Malvika’s joining. It was only after the media highlighted his revolt that Channi agreed to meet him in Chandigarh.

“Even when an employee retires, they are given a farewell. A few words of gratitude are spoken, but they (Channi and Sidhu) behaved like I never existed, like I never won as people’s representative from Moga. The day Malvika joined Congress, they did not even consider it necessary to meet me once and discuss what the issue was,” he said.

The Moga MLA added that during his meeting with Channi in Chandigarh, he was offered ticket from Amargarh and was also asked to pick some other constituency. “But I refused because I worked for the people of Moga for five years and I am confident of their love for me. Why should I leave my constituency?” he asked.

Kamal said that party’s move to give the ticket from Moga to Malvika will “backfire” and that the Congress has been “tricked and fooled” by her actor brother.

“Congress has been fooled into thinking that Sood will campaign for it in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. He won’t even campaign for his sister, let alone the party. He has clearly said that he hasn’t joined any party, only his sister has. Congress has been fooled by his stardom and the move will backfire on them at least in Moga. I am hopeful of getting BJP ticket from Moga and will win from here again,” he said.

“No other party — SAD, BJP or AAP — agreed to take in Sood and his sister. He met their leaders, but Congress has been fooled and tricked by his stardom,” he added.

“I served the Congress for 21 years. I had joined as a Youth Congress leader in 2000. This is how Sidhu and Channi have humiliated me for my 21 years of unconditional service to the party. I wasn’t the first MLA from Moga, nor will I be the last. There will be many more, but it is about self-respect. In 2017, I won from Moga when AAP wave was sweeping Malwa. They will realise their mistake soon,” he said.

Kamal is the third Congress MLA to join BJP. Earlier Qadian MLA Fateh Jang Bajwa and Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi (Ferozepur) had embraced the saffron party.

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