Lucknow | Jagran News Desk: In yet another big blow for the Congress party just ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022, Senior party leader and former Union Minister in the UPA government Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh on Tuesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after resigning from the Congress' primary membership. 

RPN Singh, who was named in the list of star campaigners of the Congress for the Uttar Pradesh Polls, joined the BJP today in New Delhi. A descendent of the royal family of Sainthwar of Kushinagar, RPN Singh has been a loyalist of the Congress Party for years.

"This is a new beginning for me and I look forward to my contribution to nation-building under the visionary leadership & guidance of the Honourable Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi, BJP President Shri @JPNaddaji & Honourable Home Minister @AmitShah ji", RPN Singh tweeted. 

Earlier in the day, announcing his resignation from the Congress, RPN Singh tweeted, "I hereby tender my resignation from the primary members of the Indian National Congress with immediate effect. I thank you for providing me with the opportunity to serve the nation, people and the party".

According to media reports, the BJP can field RPN Singh from the Padrauna seat against Swami Prasad Maurya who recently ditched BJP to join Samajwadi Party (SP). RPN Singh also reportedly met the top leadership of the BJP including Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, however, the 57-year-old leader denied meeting with any leader.

With RPN Singh switching sides, it is a big loss for Priyanka Gandhi, who has been campaigning in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming polls. Singh, who was the Congress' Jharkhand in charge, has off late been sidelined in the party and fallen off the Gandhis’ radar after he lost the Assembly Elections from Padrauna in 2017. 

This is the second big setback for the Congress party lately after another Congress bigwig Jitin Prasada joined the BJP and was later sworn in as a minister in Yogi Adityanath's cabinet. A popular Brahmin face, Prasada was also a part of the G-23 group in the Congress that had written a letter registering its dissent with the party leadership.

A descendant of the royal family of Sainthwar of Kushinagar, 57-year-old Singh is popularly known as Raja Saheb of Padrauna. He had been president of UP Youth Congress between 1997 and 1999 and secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) between 2003 and 2006. Singh, like his father CPN Singh, has been an MLA (member of legislative assembly) from Padrauna between 1996 and 2009. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Padrauna in 2009 but lost to BJP’s Rajesh Pandey in 2014.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan