Bharatiya Janata Party suffers from poll setbacks
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, suffered from a few setbacks beginning with senior BJP leader Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri’s son Manish Khanduri joining the Congress on Saturday at a rally in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi. As per some reports, Manish may take on Ajit Doval’s son Shaurya in Pauri Garhwal. Welcoming the veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader’s son, Gandhi said him joining the Congress will strengthen the party.
Speculation is rife that the Congress might field Manish Khanduri from Pauri, a Lok Sabha seat held by his father. Former Uttarakhand chief minister BC Khanduri was removed last year as chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on defence. The Congress had latched on to the removal of the former army general from the committee to attack the BJP.
At the rally, Rahul asked the audience why the son of a man who had served the armed forces and the BJP for years joined hands with the Congress. “Why is Manish Khanduri here? Do you know his father Khanduri ji was the chairman of the parliamentary committee on defence,” he said. “Despite dedicating his life to the army, the patriot was unceremoniously removed from the panel as he voiced his concern about the country’s defence preparedness,” the Gandhi scion added.
A second jolt to the party was in the form of BJP sitting MP Shyama Charan Gupta from Prayagraj resigning and joining the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) on Saturday. Gupta will contest the general elections as an SP candidate from the Banda parliamentary constituency. According to SP leaders, Gupta visited the party office in Lucknow later in the day and met Yadav, after which he was allotted the ticket. It is said that Gupta was unhappy with the BJP over reports he may be denied a ticket from the Prayagraj constituency, which he won in 2014.
The third jolt to BJP in Assam came when its sitting MP from Tezpur Ram Prasad Sarmah on Saturday announced that he quit the saffron fold and alleged neglect of old workers by “new intruders in the party” Sarmah said he was resigning from the primary membership of BJP after serving RSS and VHP for 15 years and BJP for 29 years. “I have left BJP today. I really feel pained in my heart for those old BJP workers of Assam who are most neglected in the party by the new intruders in the party,” he said in a Facebook post.