Dehradun, September 20
In a jolt to the Uttarakhand BJP, former Cabinet minister and senior BJP leader Matbar Singh Kandari, is likely to join the Congress tomorrow along with his son, on the day when Saket Bahuguna, Chief Minister’s son, would be filing his nominations for the Tehri byelection.
Since the last two days, there had been speculations of the leader bidding adieu to the BJP and joining forces with the Congress. The national general secretary of the BJP, Thavar Chand Gehlot, confirmed that Kandari was indeed miffed with the party after he was denied the Tehri parliamentary ticket but he said the party was trying to resolve the matter.
Neither denying nor confirming his imminent exit from the BJP, on being contacted Kandari said: “Whatever you have heard about me is true, but I will make known my decision publicly tomorrow and would also tell why I am quitting the party,” he said enigmatically.
Different theories are doing the rounds about the reasons behind Kandari’s exit, more so after party sources confirmed that in his resignation letter submitted to the district president of the BJP (Rudraprayag unit), Kandari had attributed the entry of Virender Singh Bisht, a former Congress leader into the BJP as the reason behind his exit. Bisht, who hails from Rudraprayag, had joined the BJP on September 18.
Confirming Kandari’s antagonism with the BJP, former Agriculture Minister Trivender Singh Rawat said Kandari, who had lost the Assembly election from Rudraprayag in 2012, was unhappy after Mala Raj Laxmi was made the party candidate for the Tehri bypoll. “His name had figured in the panel but ultimately Mala Raj Laxmi was selected. This did not go down well with him,” said Rawat.
Kandari, a party veteran, had joined the BJP in 1991 and had successfully contested from Rudraprayag, notching victories in all elections. But his defeat in the 2012 Assembly elections at the hands of his brother-in-law Harak Singh Rawat, who is Cabinet minister in the Bahuguna government, proved to be a big blow. “ For the first time in his political career, since joining the BJP, Kandari tasted defeat. Since then he has been desperate to stand for elections and had been eyeing the Tehri seat. He hails from Tehri but has always contested from Rudraprayag. But after his brother-in-law scored an upset victory, Kandari has been desperately seeking a new seat for himself,” said a BJP leader.

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