JAIPUR: Congress effected a masterstroke on Wednesday, inducting a dozen independent MLAs hours before party chief Rahul Gandhi announced the first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.
The development put the BJP on the back foot, especially so, when rebel leaders Ghanshyam Tiwari, Janardhan Singh Gehlot and Surendra Pareek also joined its rival. The inductees can influence voting patterns in 10 LS constituencies, Congress claimed.
The inductees were mostly erstwhile Congress rebels who had fought independently and won when the party refused them tickets to the Assembly due to a tussle between Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and PCC chief Sachin Pilot.
They, however, come at a time when the Congress is faced with a paucity of candidates, with most promising ones elected to the Assembly and made ministers. Some of them have been nominated for LS polls. Should they win, it would open the gates for new inductees to join the government.
“The induction of independents will not only help Congress but also improve its chances at the hustings”, said Narayan Bareth, political observer.
But most talk is centered around BJP rebel Ghanshyam Tiwari, who won the Sanganer seat in 2013 by record votes. Congress has introduced him as an RSS face who joined mainstream politics because of the opposition he faced from Vasundhara Raje, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi.
Tiwari had formed Deendayal Vahini party due to differences with Raje and fought the Assembly polls.
Surendra Goyal had left BJP after the refusal of a ticket from Pali’s Jaitaran seat. Raje had inducted Janardan Singh Gehlot from Congress into BJP.