Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh quits BJP ahead of Rajasthan election

Addressing a “swabhiman” (self-respect) rally at Pachpadra in Barmer district, Mavendra Singh said, “Kamal ka Phool, Badi Bhool (it was a big mistake to been associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party)”.

Updated: Sep 22, 2018 20:38:08

By Mukesh Mathrani

Manvendra Singh was the BJP MLA from Sheo, Rajasthan. (HT File Photo)

Manvendra Singh, Rajasthan MLA and son of former union minister Jaswant Singh, said today that he was quitting the BJP, calling his decision to join the party a mistake.

“Kamal ka Phool, Badi Bhool (it was a big mistake to be associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party),” he said, addressing what he called a “swabhiman” or self-respect rally at Pachpadra in Barmer district. He only hinted at quitting the party during his speech, but later confirmed to Hindustan Times 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 sources said the party’s national general secretary (organization) Ashok Gehlot and Rajasthan unit president Sachin Pilot have been in touch with Singh. They have also taken feedback from local Congress leaders on whether Singh’s joining will help the party in Barmer. Singh’s joining the party could dent the BJP’s Rajput vote, the Congress reckons. 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. Today he claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had at that time reached out. “During the 2014 elections, one day at 12.30pm then Gujarat chief minister and now prime minister Narendra Modi called me and said we have old relations...he told me that whatever had happened was wrong and that he had nothing to do with it.”

Modi, Singh said, had told him there was nothing he could right away and had asked him to be patient. “Modi revealed that the persons behind refusal of ticket to Jaswant Singh included a person from Jaipur and two from Delhi. I need not take their names,” he said at the rally, adding that his “self respect was hurt” during the 2014 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. Jaswant Singh had contested as an Independent candidate and lost, and his supporters in the region say they haven’t not forgotten the slight to their leader, who served as the country’s finance, defence and external affairs minister.

Raje had skipped only Manvendra Singh’s constituency Sheo during her Gaurav Yatra. Singh had announced his Swabhiman rally soon after.

First Published: Sep 22, 2018 19:42:09


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