Ahead of UP elections, Congress leader RPN Singh joins BJP
Former Union Minister and Congress leader RPN Singh on Tuesday quit the party just weeks ahead of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Hours later, he announced that he has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Singh, who is from eastern UP's Kushinagar, is likely to contest as a BJP candidate from Padrauna against Swami Prasad Maurya, who recently switched from BJP to Samajwadi Party.
- Singh was reportedly upset with the Congress leadership over his associates being denied tickets to contest in UP elections.
- The development is a big jolt to the grand old party's aggressive election campaign to regain its lost ground in the state.
- Singh's exit is also politically damaging to Congress as he is considered to be one of the "Generation Next" leaders of the party.
Hours after resigning from Congress, Singh tweeted a poster with the BJP's election symbol, indicating his entry into the saffron party. "This is a new beginning for me,' the poster read. "I am ready to dedicate myself for nation-building under the guidance and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP National President JP Nadda, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah," it continued.
Posting the resignation letter on Twitter, Singh said, "Today, at a time, we are celebrating the formation of our great Republic, I begin a new chapter in my political journey. Jai Hind." Earlier on Tuesday, he had changed his Twitter bio and dropped "Congress," sparking speculation about his possible exit. His current Twitter bio reads, "My motto India, First, Always."
Today, at a time, we are celebrating the formation of our great Republic, I begin a new chapter in my political journey. Jai Hind pic.twitter.com/O4jWyL0YDC— RPN Singh (@SinghRPN) January 25, 2022
Singh (57) belongs to Kushinagar's royal Sainthwar family. He was a member of the Congress Working Committee and office-bearer of the All India Congress Committee. He is a member of the Kurmi community—an Other Backward Caste. Singh represented the Padrauna assembly constituency for three terms, from 1996-2009. He was elected to Parliament from Kushinagar in 2009 but lost in 2014.
Singh's exit will have limited impact electorally as he is not a pan-UP leader. His influence is limited to the Kushinagar Lok Sabha constituency in eastern UP. However, he is expected to fill the void left by Maurya's exit from the BJP. Maurya had won the Padrauna seat for two terms, first as a Bahujan Samaj Party candidate, second as a BJP candidate.
Singh makes the second biggest exit from Congress in UP after Jitin Prasada. Prasada—who quit the party last year—later joined the BJP and become a minister in the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government. In the last two years, several young leaders, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushmita Dev, Priyanka Chaturvedi, and Laliteshpati Tripathi have left Congress. Most of them were considered close to Rahul Gandhi.