In another setback to the Indian National Lok Dal, which has been going through a rough phase after the party split, its sitting MLA Naseem Ahmed joined the Congress on Tuesday. Former minister and newly floated JJP leader Mohd Illyas also joined the Congress in Delhi.
Congress general secretary in charge of Haryana affairs Ghulam Nabi Azad welcomed them into the party fold. Ahmed is a sitting MLA from Ferozepur Jhirkha, while Illyas is also a former legislator.
"I am confident that in the parliamentary and later in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha polls, we will defeat the BJP," Azad said.ator from the Mewat region.
Both are prominent leaders from Mewat region, which falls in the Gurgaon parliamentary constituency.
Speaking on the occasion, Ahmed accused the BJP of playing divisive politics and said only the Congress is capable to counter the ruling outfit's agenda to "divide" the society.
"We all need to unite against BJP's divisive agenda, if they are allowed to succeed then this country will break," Ahmed alleged.
Illyas said the BJP did not undertake any development and their achievement was only limited to "jhumlas". "The BJP is creating a wedge between communities, which is dangerous for this country," he alleged.
Last month, Haryana Assembly speaker Kanwar Pal had removed Abhay Chautala as the Leader of Opposition after strength of party legislators dropped to 15 following resignations of two of its leaders.
The number of MLAs of their party had come down to 15 after resignation of two INLD MLAs -- Ranbir Gangwa and Kehar Singh Rawat -- last month.
In the 90-member Assembly, ruling BJP's strength rose to 48 MLAs after the recent Jind bypoll win, while the Congress has 17 members. After Gangwa and Rawat joined the BJP, the INLD's strength dropped to 15 members. Now, with Naseem Ahmed quitting the party, their strength is set to fall further.
One member each belongs to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), five are Independents, while one seat fell vacant after the demise of INLD leader Jaswinder Singh Sandhu earlier this year. The INLD had split last year following a family feud in the Chautala family.
Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala -- the elder son of Abhay Chautala's brother Ajay Chautala -- launched the JJP after the INLD split.
The INLD had suffered a heavy defeat in the Jind bypolls in January, with party candidate Umed Singh Redhu forfeiting his security deposit.
Days later, its nine-month-old ally, BSP, parted ways.
The INLD, founded by former deputy prime minister Devi Lal and headed by former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, has been out of power in Haryana for over 14 years now.
The INLD, which is independently fighting the parliamentary polls, is going through crisis when polling for the 10 Lok Sabha seats of Haryana is near (May 12).