Manvendra Singh quits BJP

In a major setback to BJP in Rajasthan, a ahead of assembly elections, its MLA Manvendra Singh, son of former union minister Jaswant Singh, said that he was quitting the BJP, calling his decision to join the party a mistake. Addressing at what he called a “swabhiman” or self-respect rally at Pachpadra in Barmer district, he hinted at quitting the party during his speech, but later confirmed that he had resigned.

Singh would not, however, say whether he is headed to the Congress, denying that he has met the party’s top leaders. There is much speculation that the he could join the Congress, which hopes to wrest back Rajasthan from the BJP in assembly elections to be held this year. At his rally today, when leaders of Manvendra Singh’s Swabhiman Sena asked the crowds what his next steps should be, his supporters said in a roar, “Join the Congress.” Singh said he would accept the peoples’ verdict.

Congress leaders are hopeful that Singh’s joining the party could dent the BJP’s Rajput vote. Prominent Rajput leaders were present at Singh’s rally today. Singh has been peeved with the BJP ever since the party refused to field his father in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje is seen to have played a role in Jaswant Singh being sidelined and Manvendra Singh has had strained relations with her ever since. She had skipped only Manvendra Singh’s constituency Sheo during her Gaurav Yatra. Singh had announced his Swabhiman rally soon after.

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