In a major 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.
Pilot said Harish Meena’s crossing over to the Congress was indicative of the fact that all is not well in the BJP camp.
Last month, BJP MLA from Sheo Manvendra Singh, the 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 Rajasthan, it will be difficult for them the defend Vasundhara’s rule,” Pilot said.
Gehlot said there were many more BJP leaders who were eager to join the Congress and the party was vetting their performance carefully.
“ Harish Meena has joined the Congress today without any pre-condition,” Gehlot added .
Another BJP leader Habib-ur Rahman, an MLA from Nagaur in Rajasthan, also joined the Congress.
With the sitting MP Jumped to Congress , BJP strength gone down to 268 from its 282 MPs tally it got during 2014 election. The half way mark is 272 and BJP is 4 short of Majority .