RPN Singh, a former Congress leader and union minister, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, citing “better late than never” as justification for his decision.
Singh, the Congress party’s in-charge in Jharkhand and a star campaigner for the state’s upcoming assembly elections, is one of several Congressmen who have defected to the BJP in recent months. Shashi Walia and Rajendra Awana joined the BJP alongside Singh.
Without mentioning the Congress, Singh told the media that the party he had been a part of for 32 years is no longer what it used to be. “It is not the same party where I started, and it is not the same ideology,” he said, adding that he is willing to work alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an ordinary BJP worker.
“The entire country admires our Prime Minister’s work in bringing the old civilisation into the twenty-first century,” Singh said, praising Modi.
Singh also revealed that he has been asked to join the BJP for years. “I can say, ‘der aaye, durust aaye,'” he said, “better late than never.”
Singh, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, praised the Modi and Adityanath Yogi administrations for improving the state’s law and order situation.
Dharmendra Pradhan, who welcomed Singh into the BJP earlier, said he had been personally pursuing the former Congressman’s switch to the party.
“I’ve been after [Jyotiraditya] Scindia since 2004, and I’ve told him he’s the right person in the wrong place.” When I first met Singh, who was then a minister, I advised him to join Narendra Modi in leading the country forward. I thank both of them for joining the party as this is a good sign,” Pradhan said.
After Swami Prasad Maurya, an OBC leader and a minister in the UP government, left the party, there was speculation that Singh would be fielded to run against him in Padrauna. In the previous election, Maurya had defeated Singh in the same constituency.
Other Congressmen who joined the party include Jitin Prasad and Scindia, who is now a minister in the union council.
Supriya Shrinate, a spokesperson for the Congress, slammed Singh, calling him a “coward” for joining the BJP and saying, “You have to be brave.”
“Only courage and bravery can win this battle [against the BJP],” she said. “Only a coward would join a party with diametrically opposed ideologies.”
Mahua Moitra, a member of the Trinamool Congress, also slammed Singh. “Heavyweight or deadweight?” she tweeted, without naming him. On the eve of an election, those who haven’t won a seat in over a decade are switching to the BJP.”
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