#RoadTo2019: Before Rajasthan elections, BJP leader joins Congress
In a major blow to BJP, just days before Rajasthan polls, Harish Meena has ditched the saffron party to join Congress. Meena was welcomed to Congress by state Congress chief Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot. The Congress ministers also announced they will be contesting elections this time. The state goes to polls on December 7. Here's more.
Meena had an illustrious police career
Meena is a retired IAS officer and the longest serving Director General of Police of Rajasthan as he held the position from March 2009 to December 2013. He has also received Indian Police Medal and President Medal. He had joined the BJP in 2014 and represented Dausa in the Lok Sabha. Him switching sides just days before the crucial elections could hurt BJP.
Earlier, Manvendra Singh quit BJP for Congress
In September, Manvendra Singh, the son of BJP's towering leader Jaswant Singh, quit the party. Manvendra had said joining the BJP was a big mistake and added he took the decision for his self-respect. Weeks later he joined the Congress. Notably, Rajasthan MLA Habibur Rahaman, who quit BJP a few weeks ago is also set to join hands with the grand old party.
Separately, Pilot and Gehlot say they will contest polls
At the press meet, Pilot and Gehlot announced they will be contesting elections, ending months of speculation. Pilot said, "After the aadesh (order) of Rahul Gandhi ji and the nivedan (request) of Ashok Gehlot ji, I will also be contesting the Assembly elections this year." There were reports that party factions were unsure about the popular leaders of the state contesting elections.