Destination Congress For Manvendra Singh, Son Of BJP’s Jaswant Singh

Manvendra Singh, the 54-year-old Rajasthan lawmaker, quit the BJP last month. (File)

New Delhi: 

Manvendra Singh, the son of BJP veteran Jaswant Singh, is set to join the Congress tomorrow at its chief Rahul Gandhi’s home.

It was seen by many as a matter of time after the 54-year-old Rajasthan lawmaker quit the BJP on September 22, describing his resentment with the party at a public rally with the phrase: “Kamal Ka Phool, Hamaari Bhool” (lotus (BJP) was my mistake).

Though his move to rival Congress was widely speculated – and expected – the party hopes to make more than a psychological dent by recruiting him close to the Rajasthan assembly elections scheduled on December 7. Sources say he may be given a significant role in the Congress as it eyes his appeal, especially in western Rajasthan, among Rajputs, who form seven per cent of the electorate in Rajasthan and have traditionally voted the BJP.

The BJP won a record 163 seats in the 200-member assembly in the 2013 elections. This time, many believe it will be challenged by the perceived disillusionment of the Rajputs and Gujjars.

Manvendra Singh and his father Jaswant Singh – who has been in coma for four years – had been upset with the BJP since the party denied the veteran his wish to contest the 2014 national election from Barmer, his home base. Jaswant Singh, seen in tears over his party’s “betrayal”, contested as an independent and lost to the BJP candidate.

One of the founder members of the BJP in 1980 and union minister in Atal Behari Vajpayee’s government, Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party and his son was removed from primary membership soon after. Manvendra Singh claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed sadness at what happened and had “said somebody in Jaipur and two people from Delhi are behind the conspiracy”.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is among those who sidelined his father, Manvendra believes.

While declaring his decision to quit the BJP last month, Manvendra Singh tore into the party for its style of functioning at the centre and the state. “There is a problem with the culture of governance and there is rampant corruption,” he told NDTV.

His decision to quit the BJP was based on “ideological differences”, he said, commenting that he had been quiet for four-and-a-half years and obeyed the BJP leadership but had now “lost patience.”

“They don’t know what hindutva means and there is deliberate polarization, which is unfortunate,” added the journalist-turned-politician.


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