In a jolt to the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), its former vice-president Ashok Arora, along with other leaders of the party are set to join the Congress in New Delhi on Sunday evening, according to sources. On Tuesday, Arora and his supports had resigned from the primary membership of the INLD.
With a political career of over 35 years, Arora had remained president of the Haryana unit of the INLD for more than 20 years. He announced his decision to resign from the party at a meeting of his supporters and associates called at the 'Punjabi Dharmsala'.
Besides Arora, INLD MLA Pradeep Chaudhary, former Haryana minister Subhash Goyal and Independent MLA Jaiprakash are likely to join the Congress, the sources added.
Arora had said he was leaving the party with a heavy heart as INLD patriarch Om Prakash Chautala had given him love and affection equal to his own sons. He said political circumstances have forced him to take the decision.
"In the present political scenario, regional parties do not have much role to play so joining a national party has become the need of the hour," he said.
There were reports that Arora may join the Congress, but when questioned, Arora had said he would take the decision after assessing all aspects.
He said he was not like politicians who first remained with Chautala, then with Congressmen Kuldeep Bishnoi and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and finally joined the BJP.
According to political observers, if Arora joined any other party than the BJP, it would not only affect the results in assembly segments of Kurukshetra district but many constituencies in the state as he was considered a strong leader of the Punjabi community.
The INLD had been going through rough times ever since the party split.
Arora was elected four times from Thanesar constituency. Besides being senior minster in Chautala's cabinet, he was the speaker of the Haryana Legislative Assembly. The assembly polls in Haryana are slated for October this year.