In an embarrassment to the party just months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) working president Harsh Mahajan on Wednesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He joined the BJP in the presence of Union minister Piyush Goyal and national general secretary Vinod Tawde.
The veteran party leader, who has been associated with the Congress for over four decades, claimed the opposition party has become “vision-less, directionless and leaderless”.
“I was in Congress for 45 years…Today, Congress has become directionless, leaderless. There’s neither a vision nor workers on grassroots,” he said after joining the party.
Mahajan is a former state Cabinet minister and was elected as an MLA from the Chamba constituency in Himachal Pradesh in three consecutive elections – 1983, 1998 and 2003.
He was appointed working president of the state unit of the Congress party in May this year.
Mahajan is a close aide of former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who passed away last year. Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh is the state Congress president now and their son Vikramaditya Singh is a party MLA.
Taking a dig at the party, Mahajan claimed that the party is ruled by “ma-beta” similar to that in Delhi, a reference to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.
Nothing is left of the Congress after the death of the former chief minister, he told reporters.
Following his induction into the BJP, Mahajan lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and said that the saffron party will script history by retaining power in the upcoming elections.
Welcoming Mahajan into the party fold, Union minister Goyal said that he has held important positions in the state and maintained a clean image, asserting that the party will come to power again in the state.
Congress’ former working president and sitting MLA from Kangra Pawan Kajal, and MLA from Nalagarh in Solan district Lakhwinder Rana had also joined the BJP last month, The Indian Express reported.
The grand old party is undergoing a tumultuous time after several party veterans leaving the party, with some joining the BJP, while some floating new parties.
Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was with the Congress, joined the BJP on September 19.
Former senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who disassociated from the party after writing a bitter resignation letter on August 26, announced the name of his new party Democratic Azad Party and also unveiled a three-coloured ‘secular’ flag on Monday. He is slated to contest the elections in Jammu and Kashmir.