Ahead of 2022 elections, Uttarakhand Minister Yashpal Arya joins Congress
In a major blow to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttarakhand, state minister Yashpal Arya and his MLA son Sanjeev Arya rejoined the rival Indian National Congress ahead of Assembly polls next year. He was the Uttarakhand Transport Minister. Arya—a six-time MLA and a prominent Dalit leader—was previously with Congress, but had switched to the BJP ahead of the 2017 polls.
Arya and his son Sanjeev joined Congress in the presence of senior leaders of the party, including Harish Rawat, Randeep Surjewala, and KC Venugopal, in Delhi. Surjewala said he was inducted into the party after he resigned as a member of the BJP. "He has also tendered resignation from the post of Uttarakhand cabinet minister," Surjewala was quoted as saying by ANI.
Congress leader KC Venugopal described the induction of the father-son duo as a "homecoming." Venugopal also said their "joining is a clear indication of which way the wind is blowing in Uttarakhand." Notably, Arya had served as the Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee chief from 2007 to 2014. He also served as the state Assembly Speaker from 2002 to 2007 during the ND Tiwari government.
Arya was unhappy over the elevation of Pushkar Singh Dhami as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, sources told The Indian Express. Amid reports of his unhappiness, Dhami himself reportedly went to Arya's residence for a breakfast meeting on September 25 to placate him.
Arya had served as a Cabinet minister during the Vijay Bahuguna and Harish Rawat governments from 2012 to 2017. However, he revolted against Rawat ahead of Assembly elections in 2017 and joined the BJP. Arya was reportedly unhappy over Congress's reluctance to field his son, Sanjeev, as a candidate in the Assembly elections. Sanjeev later won the Nainital seat on a BJP ticket.