Former Uttarakhand minister Dinesh Agarwal quits Congress to join BJP

Agarwal, who had served as a cabinet minister in the Congress-led government, had contested the state assembly elections seven times under the Congress.
L-R: Flags of BJP and Congress parties. (File Photos | PTI)
L-R: Flags of BJP and Congress parties. (File Photos | PTI)

DEHRADUN: Senior Uttarakhand Congress leader and former cabinet minister Dinesh Agarwal officially joined the BJP on Sunday along with his supporters.

Agarwal, who had served as a cabinet minister in the Congress-led government, had contested the state assembly elections seven times under the Congress.

Agarwal had tendered his resignation from the party on Saturday evening.

In an unexpected turn of events, former chief minister Harish Rawat expressed his surprise at Dinesh Agarwal's decision to join the saffron party.

Rawat remarked, "We must seriously and thoroughly investigate the reasons behind why someone who has received the party ticket seven times and held such important positions as a minister chose to leave the party."

"People like him, who have maintained a strong hold in their constituency should not be left behind. They should definitely not be going to the BJP," Rawat added.

On Saturday evening, senior Congress leaders, including a former minister, attempted to dissuade Dinesh Agarwal from leaving the party after hearing of his decision. Despite their efforts, Agarwal resigned from the Congress later that same evening.

Since the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, there has been a continuous trend of Congress leaders joining the BJP in Uttarakhand due to changing political dynamics.

Uttarakhand is set to go for Lok Sabha elections in the first phase on April 19, leaving just 10 days for campaigning.

While PM Modi and party president J P Nadda have already conducted their public rallies in the state, and the Congress party is yet to kick off its campaign.

Congress leaders have voiced concerns, claiming that "We are alone and BJP are engaged in campaigning with a lot of money, ED, CBI and 'other' full force".

A senior Congress leader, who has remained in the party for over four decades told the New Indian Express, "Our state in-charge is also under unprecedented pressure in this election. She (Shelja Kumari) comes to Uttarakhand for four hours and returns back to Delhi by evening flight."

Unlike her predecessors, Kumari's reluctance to establish a presence in the region during the election season has sparked doubts about the party's ability to navigate through these challenging times.

"How will the Congress manage to overcome such formidable obstacles?" he said.

Meanwhile, the BJP denied allegations of trying to induct Congressmen into its party, BJP's state media in-charge Manveer Chauhan told TNIE, "The BJP has not done anything in this, it is the result of the Congress's deeds, which they are suffering from."

"The MLAs, former MLAs and leaders of other parties who joined the BJP have now fully understood that no one except the BJP has a 'blueprint and layout plan' for national interest," added Chauhan.

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