Departures & Arrivals
Rajasthan/ Madhya Pradesh
Elections invariably kick off the defection season. And it’s no different this time in Rajasthan. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was the first mover, poaching the Congress party dynast Ashok Sharma, who is incidentally the son of former Congress minister Banwari Lal (who trounced her in Dholpur in 1993, her only electoral defeat). Then came the others. Mahesh Pratap Singh Chauhan, a one-time supporter of former Congress minister C.P. Joshi, followed Sharma into the BJP. The Congress too has done quite well in luring in the big fish. On October 17, former BJP foreign minister Jaswant Singh’s legislator son,
Manvendra Singh, shed his ‘saffron’ robes. He was followed by ex-BJP minister Usha Poonia, the party’s Jaipur district chief Mool Chand Meena and the Nagaur district president, Bindu Chaudhary.
The situation is no better in neighbouring MP. Indeed, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s brother-in-law Sanjay
Singh Masani himself joined the Congress in Delhi on November 3 in the presence of
Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Masani apparently was peeved at being denied a BJP ticket from Waraseoni constituency in Balaghat. While exiting, Masani made it a point to comment that “Shivraj Chouhan has been CM for 13 years. It’s enough, now someone else should hold office”. He also praised Nath, sitting next to him, for his “Chhindwara model of development”. Facing steady attrition in the state, the BJP finally managed a decent catch, Prem Singh Guddu, a former Congress MP from Ujjain. He is a long-time loyalist of ex-CM Digvijaya Singh.