Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's-brother Daljeet Singh Kohli Friday joined the BJP in the presence of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Kohli, a a textile exporter in Amritsar for past sixteen years, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when Narendra Modi came here to address a rally in favour of senior party leader Arun Jaitley, who is contesting from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.
Narendra Modi hugged him and said, "Today, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's brother Daljeet Singh has joined the BJP. This will further boost our strength. I extend my heartfelt welcome to him.We are not a party of mere membership. We build relations".
He was presented a siropa (robes of religious honour) in the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and BJP’s Amritsar candidate Arun Jaitley.
Addressing the rally, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal said Kohli is hurt by the treatment Dr. Singh received at the hands of Gandhi family.
Daljit, in his interview to a renowned newspaper, said he was disappointed at the way his brother was sidelined and his policies ignored by his party.
“My brother is an honest man, he served country with full dedication and honesty for ten years but Congress leaders never gave him a free hand and rather interfered in his and his government's functioning," said Daljit.
He added he joined BJP because he liked Arun Jaitley’s vision and he believed that Modi had the capacity to take all communities and parties together. He said he is likely to contest elections on BJP ticket soon.
Reacting to the development, Dr. Singh’s other younger brother Surjit Singh Kohli, who also lives in Amritsar, said he was heartbroken at the development. He suspected that Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia could be behind this move.
He said he had no clue till Thursday morning about Daljit joining BJP and emphasized that all brothers had cordial relationship for years.
He added it was a very sad moment in his life.
The party leaders refused to comment on the issue saying they first need to study the exact relationship of Daljit Singh to the prime minister and what led him to join the BJP.
Sources in PMO said Manmohan Singh's family is shocked at the development. His intentions are not known but he is free to pursue his political career. They further added that the Prime Minister and Kohli have not been in touch for long.
The sources said,” Manmohan Singh is the only son and has six sisters. Daljit Singh is a stepbrother of the Prime Minister. Manmohan Singh's mother died at an early age”.
The BJP and the Akali Dal are ruling partners in Punjab, as well as the constituents of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
Kohli had remained apolitical even after his elder brother Manmohan Singh became prime minister in 2004 and got a second term in 2009.
Manmohan Singh had studied in Amritsar after his father's family migrated here from western Punjab in Pakistan following the partition in August 1947.