Rajasthan: BJP MP Harish Meena Joins Cong, Calls it ‘Homecoming’
A former DGP, Harish Meena belongs to the Meena community, which is especially influential in east Rajasthan.
In a setback to Rajasthan's ruling BJP ahead of next month's elections, the party's Dausa MP Harish Chandra Meena joined the Congress on Wednesday, 14 November.
Meena joined the Congress in the presence of former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot and AICC's state in-charge Avinash Pande.
"I am happy that Harish Meena has decided to join the Congress in such times. I welcome him in the Congress fold," Gehlot said.
Observing that people were unhappy with the Narendra Modi government not fulfilling its promises, Meena described joining Congress as his “homecoming”.
Meanwhile, Pilot and Gehlot said they will contest the 7 December polls along with other senior leaders of the state.
"We are all united. It is BJP's conspiracy to spread false news that the Congress is divided," Gehlot said.
Pilot said Meena belongs to a family of Congress members and had joined the party without any conditions.
Catch all the updates on the Rajasthan election here.
Who is Meena and Why is He Significant?
Before entering politics, Harish Chandra Meena was the longest-serving director general of police (DGP) of Rajasthan from 2009 to 2013.
Meena had served as DGP when Ashok Gehlot was the chief minister of the state.
The newly-inducted Congress leader belongs to the Meena community, which is influential especially in east Rajasthan and dominates politics and government services, reported NDTV.
Notably, 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.
Apart from Namonarain, Harish Meena has another brother OP Meena who had reportedly served as Rajasthan chief secretary.
‘His Joining Congress Won’t Have Any Impact on Tribal Votes’
Kirori Lal Meena said Harish Meena's joining the Congress will have no impact on tribal votes in Dausa and its nearby regions, reported PTI.
There will be no impact. People know who is an opportunist and an opportunist can go anywhere, Kirori Lal Meena said.
The exit of Harish Meena comes days before the state assembly elections in Rajasthan, scheduled for 7 December, and is likely to weaken the BJP in the state. Before Meena, Rajasthan BJP MLA Manvendra Singh, the son of BJP veteran Jaswant Singh, had joined the Congress in October.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS and NDTV.)
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