BHOPAL: The final day of Congress national president Rahul Gandhi’s two-day tour to Vindhya region of Madhya Pradesh was marked by a significant political development, the ghar vapasi (return) of ex-minister Pushpraj Singh into the party after 14 years. Singh, who belongs to the royal family of Rewa province, joined the opposition party in the presence of Rahul Gandhi, MPCC chief Kamal Nath, state campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia and the Leader of Opposition in the MP Assembly Ajay Singh in Rewa town on Friday.
Ajay Singh was the prime force behind the ex-minister’s return to the party. The development was significant as Pushpraj Singh, who was not attached to any political party since 2009, is the father of Divyaraj Singh, the sitting BJP MLA from Sirmour Assembly seat of Rewa district.
Pushpraj Singh’s return to Congress is being seen as masterstroke by Ajay Singh, as speculations were rife in political circles that BJP was planning to field him against the LoP in Churhat Assembly seat of Sidhi district, a seat which has been a Congress citadel. While Ajay Singh is the four-time sitting Congress MLA from Churhat, his ex-CM and former union minister father Arjun Singh too had represented the same seat of Sidhi district in the Vidhan Sabha four times between 1977 and 1990. Pushpraj Singh, who was the state’s Education Minister in the erstwhile Digvijaya Singh government, acknowledged that Ajay Singh had played a seminal role in his return to the Congress fold.
Pushpraj Singh, who was the Congress MLA from Rewa Assembly seat between 1989 and 2003 lost the Vidhan Sabha polls from the same seat in 2003. He joined the BJP in 2004, but quit it to join the Samajwadi Party in 2009, after the ruling party denied him ticket to contest Rewa Lok Sabha seat.
He subsequently contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections on the SP ticket, but lost to the BSP’s Deoraj Patel, despite getting more than one lakh votes. According to sources, though Singh was no longer officially in the BJP, but with his son being the ruling party MLA from Sirmour seat, the royal had backed the party and campaigned for it in 2016 Maihar Assembly by-election.
Pushpraj Singh is the son of Martand Singh, who was the Congress MP from LS three times (1971, 1980 and 1984), while his mother has been associated with BJP.