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"Return of ideology": Ex-Union minister Birender Singh joins Congress

New Delhi: Prominent BJP leader in Haryana and former Union minister Chaudhry Birendra Singh joined Congress on Tuesday, almost a month after his son and sitting MP from Hisar Brijendra Singh jumped ship with Congress.
Birendra Singh joined the Congress at the party headquarters in the national capital in the presence of party leaders and supporters, including Randeep Surjewala and Pawan Khera.
Premlata Singh, the wife of Chaudhry Birendra Singh also joined the party along with him.
Singh, while speaking at the joining event, said that his coming back to the Congress party is the "return of the ideology".
"We are here because we have stood stronger with the people of Haryana and they too have supported us. In the last ten years, you (BJP) did not make anybody your own. I will say that it is not only 'ghar wapasi' but 'vichardhara ki wapasi' (return of ideology)," the leader said.
Birender Singh was the Union steel minister in the first government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also held charge as minister of rural development, Panchayati Raj, and drinking water and sanitation.
Birender Singh had also served as a minister in the Congress government led by Hooda in Haryana.
Brijendra Singh, the son of Birendra Singh, who is the sitting MP from Hisar resigned from Lok Sabha and the BJP and joined the Congress last month. The Hisar MP had cited "compelling political reasons."
In the past, the father-son duo had often defied the BJP's stand on several issues.
In 2020, they sided with the protesting farmers to demand the withdrawal of the now-repealed farm laws. Both leaders also expressed solidarity with wrestlers who protested against the former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment.
The Hisar MP, after resigning from the BJP had said that the BJP's decision to ally with the Dushyant Chautala-led Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) was also one of the reasons for his exit from the party.
Brijendra defeated Chautala by more than two lakh votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the BJP swept the state, winning all 10 seats.
However, a few months later in the Assembly elections, the JJP chief defeated Brijendra's mother Prem Lata by more than 40,000 votes from Uchana Kalan.
Following the elections, the BJP allied with the JJP, a move that did not go down well as the contenders for the Hisar seat began to grow, especially with the induction of former Hisar MP Kuldeep Bishnoi into the BJP in 2023.
Birender resigned from the Upper House in 2020 after Brijendra, a 1998-batch IAS officer who opted for voluntary retirement to enter politics, was elected Hisar MP.
The Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress, both part of the opposition bloc- INDIA will contest in alliance in Haryana.
As per the agreement reached by both parties, AAP will contest Kurukshetra while Congress will contest the remaining nine seats in the state.
Currently under the sway of the BJP-led NDA alliance, with all 10 Lok Sabha seats in its grasp, the state's political climate is undergoing scrutiny and potential transformation as the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections loom ahead.
The state will go to polls in a single phase on May 25. The results will be declared on June 4.

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