Manvendra Singh, BJP Co-Founder Jaswant Singh’s Son, Quits BJP
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) founding member Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh quit the party on Saturday, 22 September, at a Swabhiman rally in Rajasthan’s Barmer. His departure could dent the BJP’s fortunes in Rajasthan, which will be going to polls later this year.
Manvendra Singh is possibly looking to join the Congress.
Regarding his decision to quit the party, Manvendra Singh was quoted by NDTV as saying, "Kamal ki phool humaari bhool thi (the lotus flower was my mistake)."
Jaswant Singh’s family was upset with the saffron party after he was denied a ticket by the BJP in 2014 to contest from his hometown of Barmer, Jaisalmer.
Jaswant Singh was also expelled from the BJP in 2009 after he authored a book called Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence. In the book, he praised Mohammad Ali Jinnah, adding that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who was responsible for the Partition. He was readmitted to the party in 2010.
Highlighting the frustration that led to this apparent move, Jaswant Singh’s wife, Sheetal, told Mumbai Mirror:
Sheetal Singh added, “A couple of years later [after expulsion in 2009], they [the BJP] prevailed upon him to come back to the party.”
BJP to Lose Hold on Barmer?
Barmer in Jaisalmer was a Congress stronghold since Independence till 2004.
In 2004, Manvendra Singh contested elections from the Barmer seat on the BJP’s ticket, and wrested it from the hands of the Congress.
Manvendra Singh, who was an MLA from Barmer’s Sheo in 2014, did not campaign for the BJP after his father was denied a ticket.
He was then removed from the party’s national executive and expelled, the Mumbai Mirror reported. However, since he never received a letter of expulsion, he continued to serve as a BJP MLA on the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly’s records.
Earlier, speaking about the Swabhiman rally, Manvendra Singh had told Mumbai Mirror:
The Mumbai Mirror report added that Manvendra Singh does not intend to contest the Assembly polls, but is preparing for the 2019 general elections. It added that he may either go the distance alone, or join hands with the Congress.
Members of the Rajasthan Congress have said little about speculation that Manvendra Singh may join the party. However, if after the 22 September Swabhiman rally he joins the Congress, he could well be the force that secures the Barmer parliamentary seat for the party.
(With inputs from Mumbai Mirror)