Uttarakhand minister, son quit BJP; join Congress
Yashpal Arya quit the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and as the Uttarakhand transport minister and joined the opposition Congress on Monday along with his lawmaker son, Sanjeev, months before polls are due in the state. A Dalit, Yashpal Arya has a significant support base within the community in the poll-bound state.
The father and the son defected from Congress ahead of the 2017 polls. They re-joined the party in presence of former chief minister Harish Rawat and senior party leaders K C Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala.
Earlier in the day, the two met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi at his residence. Yashpal Arya headed the Congress’s Uttarakhand unit from 2007 to 2014. He is a former speaker and also served as a minister in Rawat’s government.
A Congress leader said the talks for Arya and his son’s induction into the party were going on for two months.
“He was in direct touch with Rahul Gandhi... Arya was not happy in the BJP as he was not given much importance considering his stature.”
Two independent and one Congress lawmaker earlier joined the BJP in Uttarakhand.
Speaking about the return of Yashpal Arya to the Congress, Venugopal said, “This is one of the happiest moments for the Congress... Rahul told them they will strengthen the Congress in Uttarakhand and in the country.”
Yashpal Arya said he has returned to his family. “There is no better day than today.”