UP polls: Former Congress union minister RPN Singh quits party, hails PM Modi as he joins BJP

He was upset with party over his close associates being denied party tickets in Uttar Pradesh

Tribune News Service

Tribune News Service

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, January 25

Senior Congress leader RPN Singh, the party's star campaigner for Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday joined the rival BJP ahead of the crucial elections to the key state, becoming yet another name in the long list of leaders to have crossed over to the saffron party in the recent past.

The close associate of the Gandhi family joined the saffron party in the presence of top leadership of the BJP, including Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia who too parted ways with the Congress a few months back, Union Ministers Anurag Thakur and Dharmendra Pradhan, and UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya.

For 32 years i worked with all honesty, however, the Congress is not the party it was when I joined. Singh did not commit to whether he will contest from Padurana, saying that the call will be taken by the leadership, predicting a big win for the BJP in upcoming polls.

Two other Congress leaders Shashi Walia and Rajendra Hawana, also joined the saffron party on Tuesday.

"This is a new beginning for me and I look forward to my contribution to nation building under the visionary leadership and guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah," Singh said targeting the Congress.

Praising PM Modi for the development work in UP with the double engine government, he also targeted the Congress. "I was with a party for 32 years, working hard with lagan and mehnat. However, it is no longer a party it used to be. For many years, many people told me to join the BJP. Today I can only say better late than never.”

"I am proud I come from Purvanchal, what people there dreamt of has been realised there,” he said also praising law and order situation in UP.

Welcoming him, BJP's UP in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan praised Singh for doing organisational work of Congress with responsibility, he said for many years he had been telling Scindia and Singh that they should be in the BJP.

A minister in the erstwhile UPA government, Singh resigned from the primary leadership of the Congress, saying "Today, at a time, we are celebrating the formation of our great Republic, I begin a new chapter in my political journey. Jai Hind".

Singh is believed to be upset with Congress leadership over his close associates being denied tickets in UP elections.

Though he is believed to be looking at a more central role, the buzz is he may also be fielded from Padurana against Swami Prasad Maurya, who recently jumped ship from the BJP to Samajwadi Party.

Singh hails from Padrauna and has also been a Congress MLA from there

Detractors, however, claim he moved to the central politics a long time back and "does not have much support in the region"

The apart, the  shift is expected to bolster BJP's perceptions in UP, where it suffered major embarassment following the exit of leaders like Maurya, and dampen the spirits of cadres of the  Congress, which general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is trying to revive .

Sources say the Congress is also keeping a close watch on Jharkhand, where Singh was the AICC in-charge. His shift to the BJP can also change the political equations in the state Singh helped the Congress to win.

#Congress #RPNSingh #UPPolls

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