R'sthan BJP MP joins Cong

R'sthan BJP MP joins Cong

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 during the UPA regime.

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

Last month, Sheo BJP MLA Manvendra Singh, 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 Rajashthan, it will be difficult for them the defend Vasundhara's rule," Pilot said.

Gehlot said many more BJP leaders are eager to join the Congress and that the party is vetting their performances 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, a MLA from Nagaur in Rajasthan, also joined the Congress on Tuesday.