Rajasthan MP Harish Chandra Meena on Wednesday moved from the Bharatiya Janata Party to the Congress weeks before the Assembly elections in the state. Meena, a former director general of police, represents Dausa in the Lok Sabha.
Meena joined the party in the presence of former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot and Avinash Pande, who is in charge of the state for the party. “I am happy that Harish Meena has decided to join the Congress in such times,” Gehlot said at a press conference. “I will welcome him in the Congress fold.”
Meena had contested and won against his older brother Namo Narayan Meena, a Congress leader, in 2014 Lok Sabha election.
The election to the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly will be held on December 7 and votes will be counted on December 11. Amid speculation about a possible rift within the Congress over its chief ministerial candidate, both Gehlot and Pilot on Wednesday said they will contest the Assembly elections. They said reports of infighting in the party are baseless. The party is hoping to win the state because of a possible anti-incumbency wave against the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government.
Meanwhile, Avtar Singh Challa, a senior BJP leader in Jammu and Kashmir, also joined the Congress on Wednesday, PTI reported. The development comes days before the panchayat elections in the state.
Challa, the vice president of the BJP’s minority cell, had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Assembly election from Pulwama district’s Tral region. A Congress spokesperson told PTI that Challa was welcomed into the party by its state president GA Mir and other senior leaders in Srinagar.
The panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir will start on November 17 and will be held in nine phases.