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CONGRESS

Former Haryana minister Sampat Singh to rejoin Congress

NEW DELHI: Former Haryana minister Sampat Singh will be rejoining the Congress, a step which the senior leader said he is taking as he felt the party could protect better interests of farmers.

“I have decided to rejoin the Congress. My move is mainly guided by farmers’ interests as I feel this party can better watch the interests of the farming community,” Singh told PTI over the phone after meeting senior Congress leader K C Venugopal in Delhi on Thursday.

The meeting was arranged by Congress Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda, said Singh.

After meeting Venugopal, Hooda tweeted, “Sampat Singhji will soon join the Congress. I am sure the Congress will be strengthened by his joining.”

The six-time MLA had quit the Congress in 2019 and later remained associated with the BJP, though he claimed he never formally joined the ruling party.

“I remained associated with the BJP for some time though I never formally joined the party and did not hold any post. I had attended the poll rallies of the BJP in 2019 after leaving the Congress,” he said.

Singh said over a year ago, he was offered membership of the state executive committee of the BJP but he refused, saying the saffron party should first find a solution to the concerns raised by farmers when the agitation against the Centre’s now-repealed farm laws was going on.

“I did not accept this responsibility because I had been supporting the farmers’ agitation. Even now, I feel there is not much change in farmers’ condition,” said Singh.

He, however, said as far as personal relations are concerned, he still has good relations with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Singh had quit the Congress just two weeks ahead of the Haryana Assembly polls in October 2019. He was an aspirant from the Nalwa segment for the polls but did not get the ticket.

Before quitting, Singh had switched over to the Congress after quitting the Indian National Lok Dal in 2009. He had remained a minister during the erstwhile Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government.

Singh said for his entire life, he followed the principles and ideals of former deputy prime minister Chaudhary Devi Lal.

“I will be joining the Congress within a week in the Haryana Congress office in Chandigarh,” he said, while adding Congress’ state president Udai Bhan has been his colleague since 1987.

“I was the state home minister then and he was an MLA of the INLD,” Singh said, adding that he has high respect for senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Singh had also served as a finance minister in the INLD government led by Om Prakash Chautala.

Source: Press Trust of India

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