In a setback to the Congress, Sanjay Sinh, who is considered close to Gandhi family, on Tuesday resigned from the party as well as from the Rajya Sabha, asserting that he will join the BJP “as the country is behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi”. This will be Sinh’s return to the BJP after over two decades.
Sinh’s wife Ameeta, who is the chairperson of the All India Professional Congress in UP, also quit the party. Announcing his decision in Delhi, Sinh took a dig at the Congress, saying it is still living in the past and is unaware of the future.
“Congress is still in the past, unaware of the future. Today, the country is with PM Modi and if the country is with him, I am with him. I will join BJP tomorrow. I have resigned from the party, as well as my membership of Rajya Sabha. Congress is unapproachable and unreachable. I have taken this decision after watching this for a long time,” said Sinh, who won as a Congress nominee from Assam during the 2014 Rajya Sabha polls and his term was set to end in April 2020.
Win-win for Sinh & BJP, a loss for Cong
With Sinh’s exit, the Congress, which is making attempts to revive in UP and does not have many prominent faces left to lead the change, will lose a prominent Thakur leader. His joining the BJP could be seen as a move of the ruling party to embarrass the Congress in Amethi, which has long been considered a Gandhi pocket borough. By joining the BJP, Sinh maybe returned to Rajya Sabha again, this time from UP, it is yet to be seen, how the BJP would use him or give him responsibilities, especially in the Assembly elections in the state due in three years.
“Congress is rudderless, directionless, and there is a distance from the people… I am supporting Modi because of ‘sabka sath sabka vikas’,” Sinh, also called as “Raja of Amethi”, added.
“Dialogue and communication are the basis of any political party. There is just no scope for any dialogue in Congress. Then there is zero leadership. There is no clarity, nothing can be decided. Over months there is a buzz over whether the Congress president will be a young man or an old man… all these things affected my decision,” he said.
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While Rajya Sabha Deputy chairman Harivansh announced in the House that Sinh’s resignation has been accepted, the BJP may field him from Uttar Pradesh during the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled to be held in the coming weeks.
Once a powerful minister in the Congress-led government in Uttar Pradesh in the early 1980s, Sinh became a Union minister in early 1990s.
Sinh, who wields considerable influence in the politically significant seat of Amethi, had won from the seat as a BJP candidate in 1998. He had even contested against former Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Amethi in 1999 on a BJP ticket. Though he lost to Sonia Gandhi, he had managed to get over 1.18 lakh votes. He then joined the Congress and went to win from Sultanpur in 2009.
In 2014, Sinh, had come to limelight after his son from his first wife, Anant Vikram Singh, made a claim over his fortunes, including the 450-year-old palace in Amethi. The tussle had led to a clash between his son and police in which a policeman died. Sinh’s first wife, Garima Singh, is the current BJP MLA from Amethi.
In 2017 UP Assembly elections, Sinh was given significant responsibilities by the Congress and he had extensively travelled across the state for the Congress campaign, which was then managed by the political strategist Prashant Kishor.
With PTI Inputs