Dhirendra Singh, who drove Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to Bhatta and Parsaul villages on his bike at the height of the farmers’ agitation, has quit the party and joined the BJP.
Singh was currently the spokesperson of the UP Congress Committee. A BJP spokesperson in UP confirmed Singh’s saffron switch in Lucknow on Sunday.
“I submitted my resignation to the All India Congress Committee on Saturday. I was upset with the party’s way of functioning,” Singh said on Sunday.
The move is being seen as a blow to the Congress ahead of the UP elections.
“The Congress hasn’t named its nominee from Jewar as yet. I tendered my resignation before the announcement. It would have been difficult to leave the party after the naming of the candidate,” Singh said.
While not naming Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Singh said, “The Congress has lost lots of loyal and committed foot soldiers in the recent past. Only the ones who are toeing the line of our senior leader are being promoted. I couldn’t come to terms with this.”
In the last assembly polls, Singh contested the Jewar seat and lost to BSP nominee Ved Ram Bhati. While the BSP candidate bagged 37.82% of the votes polled, the former finished second at 32.5%. Bijendra Bhati, the Samajwadi Party candidate, took the third place with 35,166 votes. BJP finished last, with its candidate, Sunder Singh Rana bagging just 6,334 votes. His share of the votes was a measly 3.55%.
Though Mahesh Sharma, a minister in the Modi cabinet, won from Gautam Budh Nagar in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls beating SP’s Narendra Bhati, the BJP led by only 7,579 votes in the Jewar assembly segment. The SP finished second, followed by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
With Singh now in, the BJP has high hopes of winning the Jewar seat. He has been raising farmers’ issues and has been at the forefront of protests as well. He held as a popular leader by the farmers. He is believed to be vying for a BJP ticket from Jewar.