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Ex-NC leaders Devender Rana, Surjit Salathia join BJP

New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) Former National Conference (NC) leaders Devender Singh Rana and Surjit Singh Salathia on Monday joined the BJP.

Both the leaders had resigned from NC on Sunday.

Rana and Salathia joined the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Hardeep Singh Puri and Dr Jitendra Singh at party headquarters here.

Devender Singh Rana is the younger brother of Union Minister Jitendra Singh. BJP Jammu and Kashmir in-charge and national General Secretary Tarun Chugh, co-incharge Ashish Sood, state unit president Ravinder Raina and others were also present on the occasion.

Rana had a long association with the NC and worked as a political advisor to former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and NC leader Omar Abdullah.

Welcoming both the leaders, Chugh said the BJP will strengthen in Jammu with the rich political experience of Rana and Salathia.

Rana was provincial president of NC's Jammu region. He said the time has come for Jammu to have a say in the political narrative of Jammu and Kashmir. "An inclusive narrative for Jammu will strengthen the country and it will also strengthen Jammu and Kashmir. It will also strengthen the ethos of the region," Rana said.

He said that he talked to all the political parties for the Jammu declaration and asked for support as people of Jammu have their own aspirations. "We have joined the BJP keeping in view the expectations of the people of Jammu. On the proposed Jammu declaration, all the people should come on one platform for the interests of Jammu," Rana said.

In a tweet on Sunday, the NC said, "Dr Farooq Abdullah has received and accepted the resignations of Mr Salathia and Mr Rana. No further action or comment is deemed necessary."