New Delhi: In a setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan, the party's MP from Dausa Harish Chandra Meena joined the Congress on Wednesday.
Meena joined the Congress in the presence of former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot and AICC's state in-charge Avinash Pande.
"I am happy that Harish Meena has decided to join the Congress in such times. I welcome him in the Congress fold," Gehlot said at a press conference. Pilot and Gehlot said both of them will contest 7 December polls along with other senior leaders of the state.
"We are all united. It is BJP's conspiracy to spread false news that the Congress is divided," Gehlot said. In his remarks, Pilot attacked Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, saying she had betrayed the trust of the people of the state.
Pilot said the tension was evident in the BJP camp with many senior leaders sidelined and not given tickets, showing that "all is not well".
Asked why the Congress had not declared a chief ministerial face before the elections, Gehlot said this had never been done in Rajasthan. Pilot said Meena belongs to a family of Congress members and had joined the party without any conditions.
In 2014, Harish Meena defeated his elder brother and senior Congress leader Namonarain Meena from the Dausa Lok Sabha seat. Namonarain Meena came third in the electoral contest. Harish Meena defeated his nearest rival Kirori Lal Meena, who was then a candidate of National People's Party and is now a BJP Rajya Sabha MP, by a margin of 45,404 votes.
Kirori Lal Meena said Harish Meena's joining the Congress will have no impact on tribal votes in Dausa and its nearby regions. “There will be no impact. People know who is an opportunist and an opportunist can go anywhere,” Kirori Lal Meena said. Elections to the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly will be held on 7 December.
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Updated Date: Nov 14, 2018 14:14:55 IST