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BJP, Congress Make Space for Defectors in Rajasthan

Between them, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have fielded 11 candidates who have changed sides.

PTI

Updated:November 21, 2018, 6:44 PM IST
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BJP, Congress Make Space for Defectors in Rajasthan
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Jaipur: Former Union minister Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh is not the only leader to have switched loyalties in Rajasthan ahead of the December 7 assembly polls.

Between them, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have fielded 11 candidates who have changed sides.

Voices of dissent are now being heard within both parties over sidelined leaders crossing over to get a chance to contest.

Manvendra Singh quit the BJP, citing the treatment handed out to his father who was denied a party ticket in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

He is now contesting for the Congress against Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje from her stronghold Jhalrapatan.

The ruling BJP alone has fielded seven defectors, including six from the Congress and one from the Bahujan Samaj Party.

BJP nominees Mahesh Pratap Singh from Nathdawara, Ram Kishor Saini from Bandikui, Mamta Sharma from Pipalda, Kalpna Singh from Ladpura, Rajendra Bhamu from Jhunjhunu and Ashok Sharma from Rajkhera crossed over from the Congress to the saffron side.

Abhinesh Mehrishi defected from the BSP and will contest for the Ratangarh seat, now held by BJP minister Rajkumar Rinwa.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who said in August he will make sure that party workers have their say and no parachute candidate gets nominated, also seems to have changed his mind.

His party has given tickets to at least four defectors.

Rajasthan state Congress President Sachin Pilot said the decisions were taken by the party high command on a case-by-case basis.

Those who managed to get a Congress ticket just days, or even hours, after leaving the BJP include Harish Meena, Habib-ur-Rehman, Manvendra Singh and Sona Devi Bawri.

Dausa MP Harish Meena quit the BJP a day before the Congress released its first list and has been fielded by the party from Deoli-Uniara.

BJP MLA from Nagaur, Habib-ur-Rehman, also quit the BJP a day before the list was announced. He will now contest for the same seat for the Congress.

Then there are the parachute candidates.

Kanhaiya Lal Jhanwar joined the Congress about five hours before the party list was released and is contesting from Bikaner East.

The Congress also fielded Sawai Singh Godara from Khinwsar just a few days after he took voluntary retirement from the Indian Police Service.

Raj Kumar Sharma, an independent MLA from Nawalgarh, will now contest from there for the Congress.
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