Former Union Minister and veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh formally joined Congress today ahead of assembly elections in Rajasthan scheduled in December.
Manvendra Singh, former BJP MLA from Rajasthan, announced his resigned from the party last month in September in a public rally in Barmer saying that joining BJP was a mistake.
He joined Congress in the presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi at his residence.
His presence in Congress is expected to bring in Rajput votes in the assembly polls. He enjoys strong support from Rajputs in western Rajasthan who are considered a deciding factor.
Sachin Pilot, president of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee said that Mr Singh’s active participation will strengthen the party. “There is a long list of leaders quitting the BJP and the party should introspect why this is happening,” he was quoted saying.
— Congress (@INCIndia) October 17, 2018
BJP leader Rajendra Rathore asserted that his resignation will not affect BJP votes in Barmer-Jaisalmer belt. “It is a politically wrong decision of Manvendra Singh which will have no impact on the BJP. Rajput votes have been with the BJP and will remain with us,” he told reporters.
“The Congress is helpless. Therefore, it is adopting sidelined BJP leaders. It is his personal decision but this is a politically wrong decision. He is not going to get anything with this,” he said.
Manvendra Singh is disenchanted with BJP as his father, a BJP stalwart and one of the founding members was denied a ticket for Lok Sabha seat from Barmer, Rajasthan in 2014. He contested as an independent candidate and lost. He was later expelled from the party and Manvendra Singh was removed from party’s primary membership. However, he continued to represent Sheo constituency as a BJP candidate in the State assembly.