The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday appointed ex-Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and Sunil Jakhar, both former Congress leaders, and its previous Uttar Pradesh president Swatantra Dev Singh as members of its national executive.
BJP president J P Nadda also appointed former Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill its national spokesperson, the party said in a statement. The Supreme Court lawyer had quit the Congress in August, alleging that sycophancy is eating into the organisation like termites.
His appointment also puts an official seal on his induction into the BJP as there had been no formal announcement so far since he quit the Congress. In a tweet, Shergill thanked the BJP leadership for his appointment.
In other appointments, former BJP presidents of Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh Madan Kaushik and Vishnu Deo Sai Rana as well as Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Manoranjan Kalia and Amanjot Kaur Ramoowalia, all three from Punjab, were made special invitees to the national executive, the party said.
Singh, a two-term Punjab chief minister, had joined the BJP in September along with many of his supporters. He also tweeted his thanks to the party leadership. Jakhar, a former Lok Sabha MP, had joined the party in May.
With two of the three new national executive members hailing from Punjab and three of the five special invitees as well, the BJP's decision underscores its effort to boost its presence in the border state where the political scene has been in a churn with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) coming to power while traditionally strong parties such as the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress in decline. Shergill also hails from Punjab.
The BJP's efforts to emerge as a big force in the state during the last assembly polls were largely in vain against the AAP's sweep as it could win only two seats in the 117-member assembly.