BJP losses prominent Sikh face over contentious farm laws

An old photo of former MP Harinder Singh Khalsa when he joined BJP at New Delhi

CHANDIGARH, Punjab—In a big jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party, its major Sikh face and former Member of Parliament (MP) Harinder Singh Khalsa has quitted the saffron party in protest against three farm laws recently legislated by its government in Centre.

Before joining the BJP in presence of the then Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Khalsa was Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP from Fatehgarh Sahib. had won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on AAP’s ticket, but was suspended from the party in 2015. Earlier, he was elected as MP from Bathinda in 1996 on the ticket of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

While resigning from the party, Khalsa also disclosed its bad intentions towards the farmers stir. He said the BJP government had chalked out several strategies to remove the agitation of the farmers on the borders of national capital Delhi. He said the government will get this agitation prolonged and then break unity in the farmers and defame them. “If it still fails to remove the protests, it would not hesitate to use power against the farmers”, he added.

He also disclosed that the BJP leader Harjit Singh Grewal had told the BJP highcommand that the laws had made it difficult for them to enter the villages in view of the anger over the laws.

Notably, Khalsa is considered close friend of Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, former IFS officer and Indian envoy in United Nations (UN). Puri played key role in taking Khalsa to the saffron party.

He came in limelight first when he resigned from the post of Indian envoy in Norway in protest against army attack on Sri Harmandar Sahib and Sri Akal Takht Sahib in June 1984.

Khalsa started his career as an English lecturer at the G.G.N. Khalsa College, in Ludhiana. During his academic career (1964-1974), he published two textbooks: A Manual of General English and Social Science. In May 1974, he joined the Punjab Civil Services. In July 1974, he joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and worked as a Second Secretary in Jakarta. Later, he served as a First Secretary in Bangkok and Norway.  

As the Congress government filed some cases against him after he resigned from the post in Norway, he decided to stay there, running a small eating joint and working as a postman in Norway. He returned to India in 1990, after being assured that the cases against him would be dropped.

During 1990-91, he served as the Chairman of Punjab Human Rights Organization, an NGO  that highlighted the excesses committed by the state government during the anti-insurgency operations. During 1991-03, he served as a secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). 



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