Just weeks ahead of Assembly elections in the state, a top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in Rajasthan joined the Congress on Wednesday. Harish Meena, BJP MP from Rajasthan's Dausa, switched sides and joined the Congress in the presence of party leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, in New Delhi.
"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.
Rajasthan Assembly Elections 2018: BJP will retain power, development only agenda, says Vasundhara Raje
Meena, a former Director General of Police, had joined the BJP in 2014. The move is being seen as a big jolt for the BJP in Rajasthan where the saffron party is fighting hard to retain power. The Meena community is considered to be an influential lot. Meenas constitute a handsome number of voters in east Rajasthan.
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.
In another major development linked to upcoming Rajasthan Assembly polls, top Congress leaders - Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot - would be contesting the December 7 elections.
BJP MP from Rajasthan's Dausa Harish Meena has joined the Congress Party in the presence of party leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, in Delhi pic.twitter.com/aiaePYmNnM— ANI (@ANI) November 14, 2018
"We are all united. It is BJP's conspiracy to spread false news that the Congress is divided," Gehlot said.
The Congress, however, is yet to project a CM face for Rajasthan. The BJP has said it will be fighting the polls under CM Vasundhara Raje's leadership.