Jaipur: In a setback to the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Dausa MP Harish Meena and Nagaur MLA Habibur Rahman on Wednesday joined the Congress.

While Harish, the younger brother of senior Congress leader Namonarain Meena, joined the party in New Delhi, Rahman returned to the party fold after a decade at the Pradesh Congress Committee office in Jaipur.

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Harish joined the Congress in the presence of former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot and All India Congress Committee's (AICC) state in-charge Avinash Pande.

“I have joined the Congress party unconditionally,” Harish said.

Harish, a former IPS officer, who headed state police during the Ashok Gehlot government, had joined BJP in March 2014 ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and was pitted against his brother Namonarain who was then a Union minister of state.

He had won the Dausa seat by defeating his nearest rival Kirori Lal Meena, who was then a candidate of National People's Party and now a BJP Rajya Sabha MP, by a margin of 45,404 votes while Namonarai Meena had stood third.

In Jaipur, sitting BJP MLA from Nagaur Rahman joined the Congress in the presence of Ajmer MP Raghu Sharma and other leaders.

Rahman was initially in the Congress and was Wafq minister in 2001-03 during the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government but he joined BJP in 2008 after he was denied a ticket by the Congress.

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He won 2008 and 2013 Assembly elections as a BJP candidate but the party dropped him and gave Mohan Ram Chaudhary ticket from his constituency following which he resigned from the BJP on Tuesday and joined Congress on Wednesday.

“I have returned home today. There is no condition for joining the party,” he said at a press conference at the PCC.

When asked whether he will be contesting the Assembly elections, he said, “who does not want to contest elections?”

However, Congress MP Raghu Sharma said that the party will release its list and candidates will be given tickets only after the final approval of the party president Rahul Gandhi.

Targeting Harish on joining the Congress, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Kirori Meena said Harish was just an opportunist and will have no impact in the elections. 

 “There will be no impact. People know who is an opportunist and an opportunist can go anywhere,” Kirori said.

Hitting out Kirori for his comments, Congress’s Raghu said that Kirori was the “finest example of opportunist”.

“Kirori’s wife Golma Devi was a minister in the former Congress government. He contested 2013 Assembly elections as the candidate of National People’s party and then joined BJP. He became Rajya Sabha MP and now his wife was given ticket by the BJP in its first list. He is the finest example of opportunist,” he said.