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Top BJP leaders join Congress in Rajasthan

“If Meenas had voted for Congress, it would have won at least 30 more seats,” said political analyst ML Yadav, a former faculty member of IIM, Ahmedabad.

rajasthan elections 2018 Updated: Nov 15, 2018 00:00 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Jaipur
Rajasthan,Assembly,Elections
(From left) Congress general secretary Avinash Pande welcomes Dausa BJP MP Harish Chandra Meena into party. Senior party leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot look on. (HT photo)

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan suffered another setback ahead of the December 7 assembly elections after its sitting Lok Sabha MP from Dausa Harish Chandra Meena and Nagaur legislator Habibur Rahaman Ashrafi Lamba joined the Congress on Wednesday.

“I have unconditionally joined the Congress and would abide by the decision of the party leadership as far as my fighting the elections is concerned,” Harish Meena, 64, said in a news conference in Delhi on Wednesday.

Meena, 64, was the Director General of Police in Rajasthan from 2007 to 2013 before joining the BJP in March 2014. He defeated his older brother and former union minister and Congress candidate Namo Narain Meena and popular Meena leader Kirodi Lal Meena from Dausa in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Kirodi Lal later joined the BJP which nominated him to the Rajya Sabha.

“This shows that the Congress is winning in Rajasthan,” party general secretary and former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said.

Calling Meena an “opportunist”, Kirodi Lal claimed that his move will not have an impact on the BJP’s performance. “There were many seats, in eastern Rajasthan, where Congress candidates lost by narrow margins in 2013 assembly elections. If Meenas had voted for Congress, it would have won at least 30 more seats,” said political analyst ML Yadav, a former faculty member of IIM, Ahmedabad.

First Published: Nov 14, 2018 23:21 IST