Three-time Congress MP and Ahir leader Rao Inderjit Singh (64) on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at New Delhi. The former Congress MP is likely to be BJP's nominee for Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat.
The Gurgaon MP who had announced on September 29, 2013 - the birth anniversary of Rao Tula Ram who led the 1857 revolt against the British empire in Rewari area - to quit the Congress, had on Wednesday formally resigned from the Congress. He also merged his newly-registered Haryana Insaaf Congress in the saffron outfit.
The Ahir leader had publicly accused Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of regional bias in terms of development and jobs.
In an interview to HT last year, Rao Inderjit spoke extensively on how the chief minister had concentrated jobs and development activities in Rohtak - Hooda's home district and the Lok Sabha constituency of his MP son, Deepender. He had also demanded that state government and the Congress high command should make public the details of persons selected for government jobs in the past eight years of the Congress rule in Haryana.
Disillusioned with the present dispensation, Rao Inderjit had also floated a non-political outfit - Haryana Insaaf Manch. Inderjit who was a union minister of state in the UPA-1, however, did not find favour with the Congress command during the UPA-2 for a ministerial berth.
Inderjit, who is the son of former Haryana chief minister Rao Birendra Singh, had also embarrassed the Congress high command when he demanded a probe into all the land deals and change of land use permissions in Gurgaon, including that of Robert Vadra, the businessman son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
"I do not hold a brief for or against Robert Vadra. But I do hold a brief for my constituents who have elected me. Vadra being a citizen of this country can't be above law. If he has not done anything, he need not worry. But if he has, then he will have to bear consequences,'' he had said in a press conference in August 2013.
Inderjit's departure from the Congress is considered a setback for the ruling party in the Ahir dominated constituencies of southern Haryana. The Ahirwal region in southern Haryana has 11 assembly segments spread over three Lok Sabha seats - Bhiwani-Mahendergarh, Gurgaon and Rohtak (one segment only) - having a sizeable presence of Ahir voters. The ruling Congress at present has seven MLAs from these 11 segments which are situated in the districts of Gurgaon, Rewari and Mahendergarh. In fact, Inderjit's younger brother, Rao Yadvendra Singh, is also a Congress MLA from Kosli constituency.
Inderjit's departure from the Congress has also thrown the field wide open for the Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat. Haryana power minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav's son Chiranjeev Rao and state transport minister Aftab Ahmed are contenders for a Congress ticket for Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat.
Rao Inderjit, a prominent Ahir leader from southern Haryana wields considerable clout in Ahirwal constituencies. Son of former Haryana chief minister Rao Birender Singh, Inderjit comes from the famed Rampura House, an icon of royalty in dynastic politics of southern Haryana. He has remained an MLA in the Haryana assembly on four ocassions. Inderjit remained a minister of state in Haryana government in 1986-87. In 1991, he became a cabinet minister in the Bhajan Lal regime. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha from Mahendergarh Lok Sabha seat in 1998 and re-elected from the same seat in 2004. Inderjit remained a union minister of state for external affairs and later defence production in UPA-1. He won the 2009 LS poll from Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat.