Over the past two months, he had grown fond of Jaitley, according to Kohli's son Kanwar Kohli. "He has done this to support Jaitley and in the interest of Amritsar," Kanwar said.
Even Kohli's immediate family was in the dark about him joining the BJP till Friday, the day Narendra Modi held a rally in Amritsar. When he broke the news just hours before the rally, "it came as a surprise, but we respect his decision," said Kanwar.
A day after Kohli joined the BJP in Modi's presence, the Prime Minister said: "I feel very sad. I have no control. They are all adults." He was replying to queries on the issue on the sidelines of the Padma awards function in the capital.
An Amritsar businessman, Kohli had never ever considered joining the Congress or shown interest in politics. According to Kanwar, it was because he was "upset by what the Prime Minister went through... Now the Prime Minister has also announced that he will retire from politics."
After joining the BJP, Kohli had said: "Manmohan Singh never had a free hand in the working of the government and could not work to his capacity."
He had a "fine relationship" with Singh, according to Kanwar, and whenever they went to Delhi, they always visited him. Though he had spoken to the Prime Minister just a couple of days ago over phone, he had not disclosed his plan to join the BJP.
While the BJP has been flaunting the development as a reflection of the public mood, Congress has tried to play it down, saying everyone had the freedom to choose their party.
Kohli joining the BJP came as a surprise not only to the Prime Minister's Office and the Congress, but also to several BJP leaders here. "Even the Prime Minister's brother has joined us. It shows the entire nation is with us," said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain.
The PMO said Kohli was free to pursue his independent political career. "The family was surprised by his move and his reasons are best known to him," it said.
Kohli has been running a pistons factory along with his brother, Surjeet Kohli, in Amritsar over the past 40 years.