Six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) lawmakers from Rajasthan enrolled as the members of the state’s ruling Congress on Friday four months after they announced they have joined the party.
Congress General Secretary Avinash Pande said Rajendra Singh Gudha, Jogendra Singh Awana, Wajib Ali, Lakhan Singh, Deep Chand, and Sandeep Yadav joined his party in September after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s approval.
“Today [Friday], after meeting Gandhi, they formally took membership of the party. They had assured their support to the Congress [government following the 2018 assembly elections] without any condition… their move to join the Congress has made the party stronger.”
The Congress’s tally in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly went up to 106 when the six leaders joined the party in September.
The six leaders took formal Congress membership two months after top party leaders held a closed-door meeting with them in November and assured them that they will have a say in organisational and administrative matters.
The meeting was held amid reports that the six were upset that they did not have any say within the party and the government, according to people aware of the developments.
They were also upset over not having been made the primary members of the Congress, they added.
The six took Congress’s primary membership a day after BSP chief Mayawati hit out at Rajasthan’s ruling Congress over the death of more than 100 infants at a Kota hospital.
Mayawati questioned Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s silence over the deaths. She added if Priyanka Gandhi does not meet mothers of the dead children, then her meetings with the kin of the victims of violence during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in Uttar Pradesh will be “construed as pure theatrics”.
State Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Amit Goyal said the Congress has a history of “buying” MLAs. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot had cheated BSP chief Mayawati around 10 years ago also, and he did the same now by buying all six MLAs, he said.
“It’s sad the BSP didn’t learn from the past,” he said.
“Gehlot was known for his political greed and not following any norms,” Goyal said.
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