Former Indian envoy to US Taranjit Singh Sandhu joins BJP


Former Indian envoy to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi on Tuesday, ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024. On February 1, Taranjit Singh Sandhu was relieved of his duties after he retired as the Indian envoy to the US.

Sandhu said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a development-oriented leader and that the development should reach his native place, Amritsar in Punjab. “In the last 10 years, I have worked closely with PM Modi’s leadership, especially in the relationship with the United States and Sri Lanka. PM Modi is development-focused. Development is very much needed today and this development should reach Amritsar too. So, I thank the party president, the Prime Minister, Home Minister who encouraged me for the new path of service to the nation that I am entering,” Sandhu said.

“There has been a transformation in India-US relations in the past 4 years. It has transformed from a relationship to a partnership. India has received investments in many areas. Opportunities are being created for the youth. I am concerned that Amritsar should not miss the opportunities the country is getting… The party will decide if I will contest the elections or not. My hometown, Amritsar, has a lot of potential and I am very affectionate towards it,” he added.

The BJP and Congress have not yet named their candidates for 13 seats in Punjab. In contrast, the AAP has named 8 candidates for Lok Sabha elections, including 5 ministers from Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann-led cabinet. AAP has fielded Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer for Sangrur, Sushil Kumar Rinku from Jalandhar, Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal Amritsar.

The 2024 Indian general election in Punjab will be held on June 1, 2024, to elect 13 members of the 18th Lok Sabha. In the Lok Sabha election 2019, BJP won 2 seats in Punjab with a 9.7 per cent vote share, while Congress won 8 seats with a 40.6 per cent, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and AAP won 1 seat each.

The elections for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held from April 19 to June 1, with the counting of votes scheduled for June 4.

Sandhu assumed charge as the Indian Ambassador to the United States in February 2020. After being appointed Sandhu’s first assignment was then-President Donald Trump’s India visit and keeping up the momentum in bilateral ties. One of the most experienced Indian diplomats in US affairs, having served in the Indian Mission in Washington, DC, twice earlier, he was also the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India in Washington, DC, from July 2013 to January 2017. Before that, he was the First Secretary (Political) at the Embassy of India, Washington, DC, responsible for liaison with the United States Congress from 1997 to 2000.

He has also been at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, New York, from July 2005 to February 2009. He came to Washington from Sri Lanka, where he had a remarkably successful tenure as the High Commissioner from January 2017 to January 2020. Sandhu was the Consul General of India in Frankfurt from September 2011 to July 2013. Besides this, he has worked in the Ministry of External Affairs in various capacities – as Joint Secretary (United Nations) from March 2009 to August 2011; and later as Joint Secretary (Administration), heading the Human Resource Division.

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