Congress Heavyweight Malviya Joins BJP, A Paradigm Shift in Rajasthan Politics: Here's Why

Malviya, widely recognized as the Congress's prominent face in Southern Rajasthan's tribal region, was unhappy about not being appointed as the Leader of Opposition following the party's defeat in the 2023 Assembly elections. This coveted position was instead given to a much younger Dalit leader, Tika Ram Jully.
Congress Heavyweight Malviya Joins BJP, A Paradigm Shift in Rajasthan Politics: Here's Why

Jaipur- In a seismic shift within Rajasthan's political landscape, veteran Congress leader Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya has officially crossed over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The announcement, made on Monday, marks a significant turning point in the state's political dynamics, sending shockwaves through the corridors of power.

Addressing a press conference the BJP state president CP Joshi said, " Influenced by the policies and leadership of PM Narendra Modi, a prominent leader from the tribal region, Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya is joining the BJP today". The announcement was also shared from the BJP's social media handles.

Malviya's discontent had become particularly relevant with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, as he is allegedly considering contesting from the Banswara-Dungarpur seat, where the BJP has been striving to gain ground, especially after the emergence of the Bharat Adivasi Party. Reports suggest that the BJP may offer him a ticket from this constituency.

The Bagidora MLA didn't mince words when he addressed journalists during his recent visit to New Delhi, criticizing the current state of leadership within the Congress party. He lamented the lack of a cohesive vision that once drove the party forward, highlighting his own disillusionment with its direction. "Despite serving as a Minister in the previous Congress government for only the last two years, I found myself overlooked for a position within the Congress Legislature Party this time," he expressed.

Malviya's absence during the nomination filing for the Rajya Sabha election, attended by former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, raised eyebrows. However, reports suggest that he met with Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma on the same day and actively engaged with senior BJP leaders, hinting at a potential shift in allegiance.

In response to growing concerns over Malviya's potential departure, senior Congress figures, including former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Pradesh Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra, initiated damage control measures. Meetings were convened with party MLAs and tribal leaders, acknowledging the gravity of the situation. Dotasra, while downplaying the impact of any individual's exit from the party, emphasized the importance of retaining unity within its ranks.

Malviya, a stalwart in Rajasthan's political arena, has been associated with the Congress for nearly five decades.

As a four-time MLA from Bagidora in Banswara district and a former MP elected from Banswara in 1998, Malviya has been a significant figure in the Congress, serving as a Minister twice in the State government. His wife, Resham Malviya, is also a notable political figure, having served three terms as Zila Pramukh in Banswara.

He has been associated with the Congress for nearly five decades, starting from his involvement in student politics through the NSUI to becoming a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

His decision to switch sides stems from several key factors, shedding light on the underlying dynamics within the state's political corridors.

  • Failure to Secure Leadership Role: In the recent state assembly elections, the Congress faced defeat, securing only 70 seats. A major bone of contention for Malviya has been the Congress party's failure to appoint him as the Leader of the Opposition. Despite his extensive experience and seniority, Malviya was overlooked for this crucial position, causing disillusionment within his ranks. Malviya stated that Adivasi voters deserve proper representation and if an Adivasi leader is appointed, it would have an impact across the entire state. However, the Congress appointed Tika Ram Jully as the opposition leader. Jully was chosen for the position as he represented the Scheduled Caste populace.

  • Enforcement Directorate Raids: Another significant factor contributing to Malviya's potential defection is the specter of Enforcement Directorate (ED) actions. Preceding the state assembly elections, ED raids targeting individuals linked to Malviya, notably Dinesh Khodaniya, a close associate, have raised concerns about potential legal ramifications, prompting Malviya to reassess his political allegiance.

  • Familial and Personal Connections: Family ties also play a pivotal role in Malviya's decision-making process. Malviya's son having married the daughter of BJP leader and former minister Dhan Singh Rawat, the familial connections is said to influence his impending move. The intricate web of relationships suggests a convergence of personal and political interests driving Malviya's transition.

  • Opportunities for Electoral Advancement: Malviya's dissatisfaction with Congress presents an opportunity for BJP to consolidate its electoral prospects. Reports suggest that Malviya may contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Banswara-Dungarpur constituency under the BJP banner, potentially bolstering the party's stronghold in the region.

  • Strategic Maneuvering: Beyond personal grievances, Malviya's switch to BJP underscores the strategic maneuvering prevalent in Rajasthan's political landscape. The move not only positions Malviya favorably within BJP but also undermines Congress's electoral prospects, particularly in the tribal heartland.

With three Lok Sabha seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes in Rajasthan, and two of them located in Udaipur division, Malviya's move to the BJP is speculated to have significant political implications.

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