Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party leader Birender Singh on Monday threatened to quit the party if does not sever ties with the Jannayak Janta Party, which he accused of indulging in rampant corruption in the state.
Addressing a rally in his stronghold Jind, he said if the BJP thinks the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) can fetch the alliance votes in next year's elections, then they are mistaken.
"The JJP is not even going to get their own votes," quipped Singh, who has in recent months stressed that the BJP should contest the 2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls on its own.
The Ajay Singh Chautala-led party had extended support to the BJP in 2019 after the saffron outfit fell short of a majority in the assembly polls.
However, in recent weeks, both the JJP and BJP have said they are preparing to contest in all the 10 Lok Sabha and 90 Assembly seats and remained non-committal on continuing the ties.
"If the BJP-JJP alliance continues in Haryana, then Birender Singh won't stay, this thing is clear," the BJP leader said, adding that his party should show the door to the JJP.
Accusing the JJP of indulging in rampant corruption, the former Union minister said, "A big leader of the JJP has betrayed the people in such a massive way that no other political leader of Haryana has."
The rally -- 'Meri Awaaz Suno' -- was a 'non-political programme' organised by Singh's supporters, which the BJP leader said was a platform to amplify the voice of various sections of society, including farmers, the poor, labourers and women.
The 77-year-old Singh, the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram who was considered a messiah of the farmers, talked about circumstances which led him to join the BJP in 2014 after snapping his over four-decades-old association with the Congress.
Referring to some BJP leaders' remarks that Singh got a lot of respect and was given a ministerial berth in the first term of the Narendra Modi government, he expressed his gratefulness for the same but reminded the party that all prominent leaders who crossed over to the BJP from the Congress in 2014, had contributions in bringing the party to power.
"I want to tell the BJP that Birender Singh, Rao Inderjit Singh, Ramesh Kaushik and Dharambir Singh who joined the BJP (from Congress) strengthened the party, which did not have much base in the state then," he said.
Various speakers at the rally hailed the contribution of Sir Chhotu Ram who championed the cause of farmers in the pre-Independence era. They also demanded that the Bharat Ratna award be bestowed posthumously upon renowned agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan.
"Today we talk about our country becoming the fifth largest economy in the world and poised to be among the top three economies in the near future. But what purpose will that economic might serve if wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few? If farmers remain poor, what is the meaning of this?" Singh said.
When cement prices go up, steel prices go up, clothes become costly, no one says anything. But when it is said that farmers should get the due price for their produce then it is claimed that it will lead to inflation, he said.
"I am not saying that successive governments in the last 76 years did nothing. Attempts were made, but things are not completely alright," Singh said.
Referring to Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, an initiative by the Union government to give farmers up to Rs 6,000 per year as minimum income support, the BJP leader said, "Now it is said that in every four months, farmers will get Rs 2,000 and Rs 6,000 annually. Farmers don't want any charity. If farmers get the proper price for their produce, they will neither ask for subsidies for urea, power or seeds."
About his previous association with the Congress, he said, "I was with that party for 42 years and worked with dedication. The Congress gave me full respect and I gained the support and trust of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi."
"But everyone knows why I left the Congress. I received a letter that I was being inducted into the Union Cabinet during UPA-2 and 6,000 of my supporters gathered at my Delhi residence. Just four hours before I was to take the oath, the decision was changed.
"It was not about ministerial berth being denied, but when you get a letter about induction and it is public and then after that, the decision is changed, it hurt me".
He also said that he has got a lot of respect from the BJP and there is no reason for him to criticise the party. "But Birender Singh always speaks his mind and that is my nature," he said.
"When the farmers' agitation(against the now-repealed farm laws) was going on, I was the only BJP leader who stood in support of the farmers. When Haryana's wrestler daughters sat on protest and talked about grave injustice, I extended my support," he said.
Notably, Birender Singh's family and JJP chief Ajay Singh Chautala's family are political arch-rivals.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Singh's son Brijendra Singh defeated Dushyant Chautala as well as Kuldeep Bishnoi's son Bhavya Bishnoi (who was also then with the Congress), to win the Hisar Lok Sabha seat. In the 2019 Assembly polls, Dushyant Chautala defeated Birender Singh's wife Prem Lata, a BJP candidate, in the Uchana Kalan seat in Jind district.
Former MP Jagmeet Brar, while speaking on the occasion, pointed towards Birender Singh and said, "Even though it is a non-political rally... I want to say that Chaudhary Sahab, Bhupinder Singh Hooda is also our brother. If Birender Singh and Chaudhary Ranbir Singh's son (Hooda) join hands, out of 90 assembly seats in Haryana, they will get 80 seats."
Those who were present at the event included BJP's Hisar MP and Birender's son, Brijendra Singh, Birender's wife and former MLA Prem Lata, actress-activist Sonia Maan, former Haryana DGP M S Malik and writer, researcher Devinder Sharma.