Home Dehradun Manish Khanduri resigns from Congress party, may join BJP soon

Manish Khanduri resigns from Congress party, may join BJP soon

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By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 8 Mar: The Congress in Uttarakhand suffered a major setback today when its last time Lok Sabha candidate from the Pauri seat, Manish Khanduri, resigned from the party. Manish Khanduri is the son of former Chief Minister Maj Gen BC Khanduri (Retd) and brother of Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Ritu Khanduri Bhushan. Khanduri’s resignation from the party is seen as a major blow to the Congress party in Uttarakhand as it has happened just before the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls and the announcement of the Congress and BJP candidates from Pauri constituency. After his resignation, speculation is also rife that he may join the BJP in the next few days.

The information regarding Manish Khanduri’s resignation from the primary membership of the Congress party was shared by him on social media. Khanduri shared that he is resigning from the primary membership of the Congress party with immediate effect. He also claimed that this decision has been taken without any prejudice, or expectation from anyone. The resignation of Khanduri has come as a shock to senior party leaders in Congress, who have claimed that they were in regular touch with Khanduri and he had not indicated to them any such eventuality. Reacting to the news of the resignation, Congress State President Karan Mahara claimed that the party held Manish Khanduri in high esteem and t he was always respected. He was also given the party ticket in the parliamentary election from Pauri in 2019. Mahara said he was shocked to learn of Khanduri’s resignation, but no formal resignation letter has, as yet, been received by the party from Khanduri. On learning of his alleged resignation, he tried to call up Khanduri on the phone, but the call did not connect. He said that the resignation might have been spurred out of personal or family pressures, too, as his father and sister are BJP leaders.

If sources are to be believed, Manish Khanduri had already indicated he would quit the party to some of party leaders some days ago.

It may be noted that, in the 2019 elections, Manish Khanduri had contested the Lok Sabha elections from Pauri on behalf of the Congress Party but lost to Tirath Singh Rawat, a former protégé of his father, BC Khanduri. Despite his defeat, Manish Khanduri has been generally active in the constituency and even more so in the past one year. Many of his recent social media posts can be seen to be strongly critical of the BJP and, in one such post, recently, Khanduri had claimed that the BJP had failed to ensure any development in Pauri constituency.

Following this development, speculation about Manish Khanduri possibly joining BJP is rife today. Sources in the BJP meanwhile claimed that BJP State President Mahendra Bhatt has invited Khanduri to join the BJP. Some sources also claimed that Bhatt has already spoken to BJP National President JP Nadda about this possibility.

After Manish Khanduri’s resignation from the Congress, the challenge to field a strong candidate from Pauri has become even stronger for the Congress. Some names floating in the air include former PCC Chief Ganesh Godiyal, who had lost two straight assembly elections from Srinagar (Pauri district) in 2017 and 2022, though he had managed to defeat stalwart BJP leader Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in 2012 from Thalisain constituency. Reacting to the news of Khanduri’s resignation from the party, Ganesh Godiyal claimed that, at a time when all the party workers were looking at Manish Khanduri with hope for the Garhwal (Pauri) Lok Sabha seat, his sudden goodbye to the party before the elections is not justified under any circumstances. Godiyal also claimed that the Congress party wanted to repeat Khanduri as the party candidate from Pauri and reminded that he had recently strongly asserted and reiterated his faith in Congress ideology. Godiyal claimed that he has also heard of the speculation that Khanduri might join the BJP but expressed hope that this would not happen given Khanduri’s ideological adherence to the Congress.