In a jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan ahead of the Assembly elections due next month, Manvendra Singh, the son of veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh and the BJP MLA from the Sheo constituency in Barmer, joined the Congress on Wednesday. He met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi who inducted him into the party.
Singh (54) had announced at a rally last month that he is leaving the BJP and joining the Congress, saying “Kamal ka Phool Badi Bhool”, claiming that going with the BJP’s election symbol, the lotus, was a “big mistake”.
Upon joining the party, Singh said that he had full confidence in the party and his supporters. "I met Rahul Gandhi in the morning today and he welcomed me into the Party. I have confidence that my supporters will continue to support me," Singh said.
On Tuesday, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot had told PTI that “Manvendra Singh will join the Congress tomorrow in Delhi in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi.” “There is a long list of leaders quitting the BJP and the party should introspect why this is happening,” he had said. “We are welcoming Manvendra Singh and this will strengthen the party,” Pilot had said as quoted by PTI.
Manvendra Singh won Barmer’s Sheo Assembly constituency in 2013 with a margin of 31,425 votes. His father Jaswant Singh, who is in coma for the past four years, was denied a BJP ticket from the Barmer-Jaisalmer constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.