Jolt to BJP as sitting Rajasthan MP joins Cong

Jolt to BJP as sitting Rajasthan MP joins Cong

Dausa MP Harish Chandra Meena speaks at a press conference after joining the Congress party, at AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI photo

In a jolt to the BJP, Harish Chandra Meena, a sitting MP of the saffron party from Rajasthan, on Wednesday joined the Congress ahead of the assembly elections next month.

Meena, an IPS officer-turned-parliamentarian, joined the Congress in the presence of former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, state Congress president Sachin Pilot and AICC General Secretary Avinash Pande at the AICC Headquarters here.

Meena, who was the Director General of Police during Gehlot's tenure as chief minister, had won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket from Dausa, defeating Kirori Lal Meena, who had contested as a candidate of the National Peoples' Party. Kirori Lal Meena is now with the BJP.

Harish was upset after Kirori Lal, whom he had defeated in the Lok Sabha polls, joined the BJP. Harish is the brother of Namo Narain Meena, a prominent Congress leader and Union Minister of State for Finance during the UPA regime.

Pilot said Harish Meena's crossing over to the Congress was indicative of the fact that all is not well in the BJP camp.

Last month, BJP MLA from Sheo Manvendra Singh, the son of BJP co-founder and former Union Minister Jaswant Singh, had joined the Congress.

“The tension is evident in the BJP ranks. In Vasundhara Raje's five year rule, old timers are being ignored. No matter how many rallies Narendra Modi and Amit Shah address in Rajasthan, it will be difficult for them the defend Vasundhara's rule,” Pilot said.

Gehlot said there were many more BJP leaders who were eager to join the Congress and the party was vetting their performance carefully.

“Leaders across the country are queuing up to join the Congress. Similarly, Harish Meena has joined the Congress today without any pre-condition,” Gehlot said.

Another BJP leader Habib-ur Rahman, an MLA from Nagaur in Rajasthan, also joined the Congress.