DEHRADUN: Within months of an electoral defeat in Uttarakhand, the BJP received a huge setback ahead of the Tehri Lok Sabha bypoll on October 10 when Matbar Singh Kandari, a minister in the erstwhile BS Khanduri government, resigned from the party along with 25 other office-bearers to join the Congress.
Kandari and others switched loyalty to Congress by enrolling themselves as primary members of the party in presence of the PCC chief Yashpal Arya and Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna at a public meeting at parade ground on Friday.
The public meeting was organized by Uttarakhand Congress to garner support for its candidate Saket Bahuguna, the eldest son of Vijay Bahuguna, for the Lok Sabha bypoll in Tehri.
Kandari served as cabinet minister during the erstwhile BJP rule for five years from 2002 to 2007, resigned from the party as he was unhappy due to the denial of a BJP ticket to his son Rajiv Kandari from Sahaspur assembly seat during the assembly polls in January this year.
Kandari, who had won as BJP candidate for two consecutive assembly polls in 2002 and 2007 from Rudrapryag, lost to Congress candidate Harak Singh Rawat in the 2012 polls.
Addressing the public meeting, CM Bahuguna and Yashpal Arya welcomed Kandari and others for joining the Congress party. “Congress will benefit from the long political career of Kandari and others in enlarging the support base of the party in different constituencies of Uttarakhand,” Bahuguna said.