Manvendra Singh joins Cong weeks before polls in Rajasthan

Manvendra Singh joins Cong weeks before polls in Rajasthan
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New Delhi, Oct 18: Manvendra Singh, estranged BJP MLA from Rajasthan and son of saffron veteran Jaswant Singh, joined Congress, giving a major talking point to the opposition party in the poll-bound state.
Singh met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in the morning along with senior leaders from Rajasthan including Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot and AICC incharge of the state Avinash Pande. BJP MLA from Vidarbha region in Maharashtra Ashish Deshmukh also joined Congress.
Speaking to reporters, Manvendra Singh said he had quit BJP for personal as well as public reasons. He castigated CM Vasundhara Raje’s governance and “personal vendetta”, and expressed hope that people would vote her out in December.
Singh also suggested that former defence minister Manohar Parrikar knew the facts of the Rafale deal and was deliberately keeping a distance from the debate — a remark that helped Congress up the ante on the fighter jet controversy. “Parrikar’s illness is linked to the Rafale file,” Singh said when asked if there were concerns in BJP over the row that Congress has raised.
Parrikar, who held the defence portfolio before he took over as Goa CM, is battling cancer and was hospitalised for a few months before being discharged this week. He has not spoken on the Rafale purchase that he dealt with as defence minister. Congress mentioned two documents put out by the biggest French trade unions — CGT and CFDT — in which Dassault Aviation COO Loik Segalen has said the offsets contract to Reliance Defence was obligatory for the deal to go through.