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Rajasthan BJP MLA & Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra quits BJP, may join Congress

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BJP MLA Manvendra Singh has been at loggerheads with his party for denying dad Jaswant Singh a Lok Sabha ticket in 2014.

New Delhi: Rajasthan BJP MLA from Sheo, Manvendra Singh, the son of former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh, quit the BJP Saturday.

He is likely to join the Congress in the coming days.

“For the last 4-5 years, I’ve been ignored by the party. I have raised my issues with the prime minister and the party president whenever I’ve met them but there has been no response and no action was taken,” Singh told a ‘Swabhiman Rally’ organised in Pachpadra in Barmer.

“It forced me to organise this rally today. My patience is now over.”

Amid chants of swabhiman, swabhiman, Singh quit the BJP saying, “Kamal ka phool, hamari bhool”.


Also read: Rahul Gandhi let Nitish Kumar go into the BJP’s waiting arms—and wants him to stay there


 

Manvendra is known to have been unhappy with the BJP ever since his father was denied a ticket to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Barmer. Jaswant Singh contested the elections as an independent but lost to the BJP’s Sona Ram. Manvendra had campaigned for his father against the official BJP candidate.

He has since been on a warpath with the BJP, opposing Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s ‘Gaurav Yatra’ and travelling across the state to invite people to attend his rally.

Saturday’s rally saw the participation of Sheetal Kanwar, Manvendra’s mother, and his wife Chitra Singh. Jaswant Singh, a senior cabinet colleague of the late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was hospitalised in Delhi and is now being cared for at home.

Apart from senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, no other leader visited the ailing Jaswant Singh in hospital.

A boon for Congres?

Manvendra is considered to have a strong following among the state’s Rajput community, which is reportedly upset with the BJP. He has been invoking Rajput swabhiman (pride) to further alienate the community from the BJP.


Also read: Under Rahul Gandhi, Congress is starting to take a turn to the Left


The BJP’s loss is certainly a gain for the Congress. Sources told ThePrint that Manvendra has been holding back-channel talks with the opposition party and would most likely join the Congress in the coming days

Rajasthan is scheduled to hold assembly elections before the end of the year and Manvendra’s decision could hurt the BJP which is already battling strong anti-incumbency in the state.

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