July 2019 News

Youth Congress Leaders Join BJP

6 July 2019
The Tribune

Jammu: The Congress on Saturday received a setback when senior leaders of the Youth Congress joined the BJP in the presence of Union minister Jitendra Singh. The leaders charged the Congress with propagating pro-separatist policies in J&K to appease anti-national elements at the cost of the Jammu and Ladakh regions. Former Congress leader Sham Lal Sharma was present when Youth Congress leaders joined the BJP. The Congress' face in the Jammu region, Sham Lal, had joined the saffron party on March 30 this year. Prominent leaders who joined the BJP included Pankaj Bastora, state vice-president; Sahil Sharma, state vice-president; Chetan Wanchoo, state general secretary; and others. 'It is just a beginning, a majority of the Jammu-based Congress leaders, including those from the youth wing will join the saffron party,' said Wanchoo. He charged the party leadership with pursuing anti-national policies in J&K to keep separatist groups in good humour. He further alleged that instead of ensure equal treatment with all regions and sub-regions of J&K, the Congress leadership was more worried about a particular region at the cost of Jammu and Ladakh. 'The Congress does not have a policy to deal with terrorism in J&K,' Pankaj said while regretting that instead of supporting the security forces, the Congress was brazenly 'appeasing pro-militant groups.' Sources said Sham Lal was instrumental in convincing Youth Congress leaders to join the BJP. Considered a strong voice of the Jammu region, Sham Lal had been Congress MLA twice from his home constituency of Akhnoor and served as a Cabinet minister in the NC-Congress coalition government in 2008. He lost to BJP candidate Rajeev Sharma in 2014 from Akhnoor when the saffron brigade won a historic 25 seats from the Jammu region in the Assembly elections.