Ex-cricketer Dinesh Mongia, Congress MLAs join BJP before Punjab polls
Former Indian cricketer Dinesh Mongia joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi on Tuesday. Mongia joined the saffron party's primary membership. A 44-year-old former left-handed batter, Mongia had represented India in limited over international matches. Two sitting Punjab Congress MLAs—Fateh Singh Bajwa and Balwinder Singh Laddi—were among the total eight persons who joined the BJP on Tuesday.
Why does this story matter?
Mongia hails from Punjab's capital Chandigarh and the development comes just months ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections in February or March 2022. The BJP is attempting to gain traction in Punjab by exploiting the crisis within the ruling Congress party. The announcement of Captain Amarinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa joining the BJP has notably boosted the party's popularity in the state.
Nobody better than BJP for India's development: Mongia
"I want to serve the people of Punjab by joining the Bharatiya Janata Party," said Mongia after his induction into the BJP. "Today, there is no other party that can work better than the BJP for the development of the country."
Who else joined the BJP today?
Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said several prominent figures joined the BJP on Tuesday. Apart from Bajwa and Laddi, these included former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Gurtej Singh Gudhiyana, United Akali Dal leader Rajdev Singh Khalsa, retired advocate Madhumeet, United Christian Front Punjab President Kamal Bakshi, and Nihal Singh Wala municipal corporation member Jagdeep Singh Dhaliwal
What happened in the 2017 Punjab polls?
The Congress secured an absolute majority in the 2017 Punjab assembly election, with 77 seats ousting the SAD-BJP alliance government. With 20 seats, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had emerged as the second-largest party in the state. The SAD secured 15 seats, while the BJP received only three seats. In the election, 77.2% of eligible voters had turned out to vote.
Dinesh Mongia's cricket career
Mongia had made his international cricket debut in 2001, scoring 1,230 runs and getting 14 wickets. On May 12, 2007, he played his final match for India against Bangladesh. He played for India at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, when India lost to Australia in the finals. He scored 8,028 runs in 121 first-class games for Punjab, including 27 centuries.