In a major embarrassment for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Manish Khanduri - the son of ex-Uttarakhand Chief Minister and sitting MP BC Khanduri, joined the Congress in presence of Rahul Gandhi on Saturday. Khanduri, seen by experts as the Congress party’s response to the BJP’s ‘defection strategy’ after it inducted Sonia Gandhi’s loyalist Tom Vadakkan, is likely to contest from Pauri Garhwal constituency in Uttarakhand. His father BC Khanduri is the sitting BJP MP from the Pauri Garhwal constituency. However, he has announced not to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections citing poor health.
Addressing a rally in Dehradun, Manish hailed Rahul Gandhi’s leadership and said that he sought blessings of his father before coming to Dehradun rally where he joined the Grand Old Party.
“I believe that under Rahul Gandhi's leadership, Congress will make country stronger. Before coming here,I sought blessings of my father. He asked me if I can walk on path of truth, I said, 'yes’,” he said.
Former Uttarakhand chief minister BC Khanduri was removed last year as chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on defence allegedly after he questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on national security.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi latched on to the removal of the former army general from the committee to attack the BJP. Speaking at his mega Dehradun rally, Gandhi said, “He (BC Khanduri) gave all his life to Army. But when he asked a question on national security in Parliament & spoke the truth that the way govt should help Army, it is not there, then he was removed from the Chairmanship of that Committee.”