Rajasthan BJP leaders and Jat stalwarts from Shekhawati region — Hari Singh and Subhash Maharia — joined the Congress at its New Delhi office on Thursday, giving a boost to the opposition party that is attempting to return to power in the state
Congress leaders said the two leaders would help strengthen the party’s Jat base ahead of the assembly elections.
“Both of them have joined the party unconditionally and will work to uproot the BJP government in Rajasthan,” said state Congress president Sachin Pilot.
It was a homecoming for former MP Hari Singh, a vocal detractor of former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and then state party chief Chandrabhan. Singh had resigned from the Congress in 2011 and supported the BJP in 2013 assembly and 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Maharia, a three-time Lok Sabha member and a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was expelled from the BJP after he contested the 2014 Lok Sabha from Sikar against the party candidate.
Speculations of him joining the Congress were doing the rounds over the last three months.
A section of people believe that inducting the two leaders would send out wrong message as Singh had openly spoken against the state leadership in the past and Maharia contested against party candidates.
Pilot, leader of opposition Rameshwar Dudi, Congress communication in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, senior leader Narayan Singh among others were present at the induction ceremony. Independent MLA Nand Kishore Maharia but was also present at the programme.
Congress general secretary and state party in-charge Gurudas Kamat was conspicuous by his absence at the programme though he clarified that he had to rush to Mumbai due to personal reasons.