Punjab & Region

Ex-Punjab DGP Virk, ex-Akali MLA Makkar, others join BJP

The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, December 4

Former Punjab director general of police (DGP) SS Virk, ex- Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Sarabjit Singh Makkar and Aam Aadmi Party leader Gurpreet Singh Bhatti along with 25 others on Friday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The others who entered the saffron fold in the presence of Union jal shakti minister and party’s Punjab election in-charge Gajendra Singh Shekhawat are Avtar Singh Zira, son of veteran Akali leader and former minister late Hari Singh Zira, and industrialists Manvinder Singh Ranauta and Harcharan Singh Ranauta.

Of a total of 28 people who joined the party, at least 20 are Sikh.

Virk, who has the distinction of remaining the DGP of Punjab and Maharashtra, was one of the prominent faces of the Punjab Police’s fight against militancy in the 1980s.

A Maharashtra-cadre retired IPS officer, Virk was awarded the Padma Shri in 1988 and has survived three attempts on his life by Khalistan militants. He was considered close to former chief minister Amarinder Singh and earlier had plans of joining the Congress, it is learnt.

The BJP may consider fielding him from the Dasuya seat in Hoshiarpur district in the assembly elections as his native village Chhangla falls in the constituency.

Gurpreet Bhatti, a founder member of the Manpreet Singh Badal-led Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP), contested the 2012 assembly polls from Khanna segment on party ticket. In 2017, he contested from the Amloh segment on AAP ticket and finished third with over 32,000.

The BJP may to field him from Khanna, it is learnt.

“Only the BJP has solution to the problems of Punjab — be it financial or the drug problem,” said Bhatti.

Sarabjit Makkar was upset with the SAD over giving ticket to Jagbir Brar from Jalandhar Cantonment in the last polls. More senior leaders are likely to enter the saffron fold in the coming days, a senior party functionary said.