Former Congress minister joins BJP

Sunny Sebastian

“He has gone to the right place”: Rajasthan Congress chief

JAIPUR: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday roped in former Congress Minister and kabaddi enthusiast Janardhan Singh Gehlot in an effort to make up for the setback the party suffered in east Rajasthan due to the exit of Vishvendra Singh and the revolt by Kirori Lal Meena. Mr. Gehlot, who was elected from Karauli in 1998, is vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association and president of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India.

An array of senior BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde, national treasurer Ramdas Agarwal and State unit president Omprakash Mathur were present when Mr. Gehlot, who was the Food and Civil Supplies Minister in the previous Ashok Gehlot Government, announced his resignation from the Congress listening to his “inner voice”.

“He has gone to the right place. He deserves a seat at the right side of Vasundhara Raje,” said Congress general secretary and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot when asked about the development. The two Gehlots are known for their aversion to each other.

“I am not doing this for any post or ticket. Many more will follow me,” said Mr.Janardhan Singh Gehlot, who had tried unsuccessfully for a Congress re-nomination from Karauli this time. He seemingly had lost out in the race for the ticket after the Congress policy decision not to nominate those who had lost by more than 20,000 votes in the previous election.

He blamed his bete noire Ashok Gehlot for spoiling the Congress and casting a spell on party president Sonia Gandhi.

“One should have the right attitude and approach. Vasundhara Raje has it and not Ashok Gehlot who spoke of empty coffers all the time as Chief Minister,” said Mr. Gehlot, whose first claim to glory was his giant-killer feat some three decades ago defeating Bhairon Singh Shekhawat from the now defunct Gandhi Nagar seat in Jaipur.

“I am always happy to welcome more to the BJP family. We are all together to bring back the BJP rule in Rajasthan. There will be no dearth of resources when it comes to development,” Ms. Raje said on the occasion.

“When I go to the villages, people talk about the development that has taken place in their areas during the BJP regime. That gives me confidence in seeking votes in the name of development even when some leaders tell me that elections are not won on the issues of development. We are fighting this election on the plank of development,” she said.

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