If he joins he is likely to be fielded as Congress candidate from Garhwal Lok Sabha seat
In what could turn out to be a virtual surgical strike by Congress into the saffron territory in Uttarakhand ahead of the high-stake Lok Sabha elections, Manish Khanduri, son of the BJP stalwart and former Chief Minister Major General B C Khanduri (rtd), is expected to join the Congress. It is nearly imminent that the Khanduri scion would join the Congress during the rally of Rahul Gandhi in Dehradun on March 16. He is likely to be fielded by the party for the Garhwal Lok Sabha seat if he joins the Opposition party of the State.
When contacted by The Pioneer on the issue, Manish Khanduri declined to comment. “It is too early to say anything,” he said. However, the observers say that his silence is eloquent. “It is a clear hint that something is going on behind the scene,” said a political observer.
Quizzed over the same, the state chief Pritam Singh neither confirmed nor denied the speculation swirling in the state’s political circles. “For a political party, it is common for the people to get in and out. Our door is wide open and whosoever comes by showing respect to our ideology would be welcomed by us,’’ he said.
Meanwhile Ritu Khanduri Kumar, sister of Manish and BJP MLA from Yamkeshwar Assembly constituency, said that her brother had been in touch with the state Congress brass. “I am not, however, privy to what transpired at these meetings,” she said and added that if her brother joins the Congress it would be his personal decision.
One senior Congress member, however, confirmed that the Khanduri junior is joining the party. “Manish is a good friend of Rahul Gandhi and everyone knows that Khanduriji is sidelined in the BJP. Now Manish Khanduri would contest from Garhwal seat on a Congress ticket,’’ he said.
Even after her sister Ritu took an electoral plunge during the 2017 Assembly election, Manish Khanduri remained away from the political limelight. At present, he is based in New Delhi and he is the head of news partnerships at Facebook, India. He has studied Marketing and Finance from Kellogge School of management USA and is a graduate from Delhi Institute of Technology.
It is pertinent to mention that the father of Manish Khanduri, Major General B C Khanduri ( Rtd) is the sitting BJP MP from Garhwal Lok Sabha seat. Besides, he had represented the same constituency in 10th, 12th, 13th and 14th Lok Sabha. He had twice served as the chief minister of Uttarakhand. He was also the Union minister of state for surface transport (independent charge) in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Khanduri who enjoys an immense popularity in Uttarakhand is deemed to be one of the stalwarts of the party in the state. The entry of his son in Congress if it happens would surely leave the saffron party embarrassed, say the observers.
Thursday, 14 March 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
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