Former Congress leader Kripashankar Singh joins BJP in Mumbai
Former Congress leader Kripashankar Singh, who also served as a minister in the previous Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday. Singh joined the BJP at the party headquarters in Mumbai in the presence of the current Leader of Opposition and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil. Here are more details.
Maharashtra BJP leader Madhav Bhandari was quoted as saying by ANI, "Singh has relevance in Mumbai politics and has been in touch since the last few months. He will join in the presence of former CM Devendra Fadnavis." Interestingly, Singh had earlier been a target for the BJP as he had been accused of corruption and holding assets disproportionate to known income sources.
Maharashtra: Former Congress Minister Kripashankar Singh joins Bhartiya Janata Party in Mumbai— ANI (@ANI) July 7, 2021
BJP leaders Devendra Fadnavis Chandrakant Patil were also present. pic.twitter.com/dQvuNKWAXt
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Singh said, "I quit Congress on the issue of the abrogation of Article 370." "There could be opposition to the process but there was no reason for Congress to oppose the move. I had asked for reasons on the party's stand on it, but did not get any reply," he said, "I am joining BJP without putting forth any conditions."
The Congress party reacted to the development saying that Singh's exit did not impact the party. Mumbai Congress working President Charan Sapra told The Indian Express, "He had left us in 2019 and it is for him to decide his future. I don't think that Congress has been dented by his exit in the last two years. Many young North Indian leaders are emerging."
In the Congress party, Singh was known to have a strong base of supporters in the North Indian community in Maharashtra. He served as head of the Mumbai Congress from 2008 to 2012. However, he resigned after his alleged involvement in the 2G scam. He had also served as state minister for Home and as an MLA from the Kalina constituency in Santacruz.
Singh's disaffection with Congress was quite prominent as he had not campaigned during the 2019 Maharashtra polls. He quit in September 2019 as he felt sidelined by the party. It is rumored that he grew closer to the BJP after a special court discharged him from a multi-crore disproportionate assets case in 2018. He is reportedly close to BJP Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane.
Singh's move comes ahead of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's elections, which are slated to be held in 2022. Many believe that Singh's face in the BJP will help the saffron party draw votes from his base of North Indian supporters. The BJP has already launched its Mission 2022 to build a campaign ahead of the BMC elections early next year.