New Delhi, Oct. 16: Former diplomat and Uttar Pradesh Governor Romesh Bhandari today joined the Janata Dal (Secular) headed by former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, saying he would strengthen the party in the Hindi belt.
Bhandari, who had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from South Delhi in 1991 on a Congress ticket and became Uttar Pradesh Governor in 1993, said his “task is to build the party to provide an alternative to the BJP and the Congress”.
Bhandari said he would contest neither the Lok Sabha nor the Rajya Sabha elections and would only concentrate on party work. Gowda said Bhandari’s entry would strengthen the party at the national level.
On why he joined JD(S) despite contesting on a Congress ticket earlier and having close relations with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Bhandari said: “In the present situation, the JD(S) is the best party to be associated with.”
Gowda announced that about 2,000 farmers led by JD(S) leaders would stage a dharna at the Prime Minister’s residence here on October 22 and submit a memorandum on their plight.
Earlier, at a party convention here, leaders belonging to more than 25 organisations joined the party, affirming their faith in the ideals and principles of the party.
Former Prime Minister V.P.Singh and CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan also addressed the convention emphasising the need for unity of secular forces to confront communalism which was raising its head across the country.
Appreciating Gowda’s initiative to revive Janata Dal, Singh, who was one of the founder members of JD said the former Prime Minister from Karnataka was a leader with firm commitment to farmers, labourers and would be remembered for upholding their cause during his tenure as Prime Minister.
Bardhan cautioned the NDA allies (TDP, Samata Party, JDU) to take a lesson from the DMK, Akali Dal, AGP and now National Conference, who lost their political grounds merely because of their association with BJP.