NEW DELHI: In a setback to the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections, Uttarakhand Cabinet minister Yashpal Arya and his MLA son returned to the Congress on Monday. A prominent leader from the backward community, Arya along with son Sanjeev met former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi before joining the party. He had left the Congress ahead of the 2017 elections after his son was not given party ticket.
The joining Congress holds importance as former chief minister Harish Rawat had recently said that the party may have a Dalit chief minister on the lines of Punjab. Arya was a speaker and minister during the erstwhile Congress rule in the hill state.
“It is my ‘ghar wapsi’ as I have returned to my family. If the Congress emerges stronger, then democracy will be strengthened further,” said Arya. While the six-time MLA represents Bajpur (SC) constituency, his son Sanjeev represents Nainital.
The Congress said that Arya’s come back is a positive sign that it will win in the state. “This is one of the happiest moments for the Congress party as Yashpal and Sanjeev Arya have decided to join the Congress, giving a clear-cut indication of coming elections in Uttarakhand. The wind is in favour of the Congress in Uttarakhand,” General Secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal told reporters after the father-son duo formally joined the party which is eyeing to trounce the ruling BJP in Uttarakhand.