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Four-time Congress MLA and former Rajasthan minister Mahendrajeet Malviya joins BJP

Sources say BJP has already launched Lotus Operation in Rajasthan wherein many other big Congress leaders from different regions of the state, are being approached by senior BJP leaders and being offered lucrative positions including Lok Sabha tickets.
Last Updated : 19 February 2024, 10:10 IST
Last Updated : 19 February 2024, 10:10 IST

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Jaipur: Even as the fear of poaching of their influential leaders before the Lok Sabha Elections has been rattling the Congress Party for quite sometime now, today one of the state’s tallest tribal leaders, Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya switched to the saffron party ending his three decade-long association with the grand old party.

He resigned as a MLA from Bagidora constituency in Banswara. Thus, Congress now has 69 MLAs and BJP has 115 in a House of 200. Malviya, 64, a member of the highest decision making body of the Congress, the CWC, has been a sarpanch, pradhan and four time legislator, MP and minister and is a dominant force and grassroots leader in the tribal belt of Dungarpur-Banswara region, called the Vagad area in southern Rajasthan. He was one of the few Congress leaders, who in 2013 despite the stupendous BJP wave then, where in BJP got 163 seats.

It is being expected that Malviya would be given the Lok Sabha ticket from Dungarpur-Banswara constituency. He was camping in Delhi for the last three days and met party president J P Nadda yesterday along with chief minister Bhajanlal Sharma.

He joined BJP today at the BJP headquarters in Jaipur in the presence of party president C P Joshi and other senior leaders Rajendra Rathore. Malviya especially mentioned their names, saying he would remain indebted to them lifelong.

Unhappy over not being made the Opposition leader and also for being ignored by the High Command who did not give him time to meet in Delhi, Malviya had said: “It is for all to see the state which Congress is in the state right now. The vision that kept the party going is no longer there.”

After his joining when questioned about the tremendous jolt to Congress, Malviya said he feels comfortable and relieved on joining BJP. Denying any rift with the Congress, Malviya said his only agenda was development of the Vagad region and that he was highly influenced by Prime Minister Modi’s policies and programmes.

He said, “Earlier Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister and we had our government in the state and as such developmental work got done but now within such circumstances, no developmental work is possible.”

After joining he appealed for Mangarh Dham to be accorded national monument status. Mangarh Dham is known for the massacre of around 1500 Bhil tribals by the British Army in 1913. The place is often referred to as Adivasi Jalianwala Bagh.

Malviya, however, has a Vishwa Hindu Parishad background, with which he started off and has been a president of ABVP. He is also alleged that Congress Party had stopped him from attending the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony on January 22 in Ayodhya which finally propelled him towards BJP.

Sources say BJP has already launched Lotus Operation in Rajasthan wherein many other big Congress leaders from different regions of the state, are being approached by senior BJP leaders and being offered lucrative positions including Lok Sabha tickets.

Former minister Lalchand Kataria, who refused to fight the MLA election last year, has kept a low profile for long. His joining the BJP is now doing the rounds. Other former ministers, one from eastern Rajasthan, Rajendra Yadav and another from southern Rajasthan, Udailal Anjana are also weighing their options before taking the saffron plunge.

There are talks of giving tickets to influential Congress leaders in Marwar, Shekhawati and Eastern Rajasthan. Many other big Congress names are said to be camping in Delhi.

Top Congress leaders including former chief minister Ashok Gehlot are in a huddle now, to chalk out plans to arrest this exodus.

Sources say Congress may even be forced to announce the Lok Sabha tickets before the Rajya Sabha elections on Feb 27, fearing BJP’s attempt to mar the chances of Sonia Gandhi’s election to the Upper House.

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Published 19 February 2024, 10:10 IST

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