10 high-profile Congress turncoats and their last electoral performance


Vallabh is not the only, and certainly not the last, of the Congress leaders who have jumped ship and joined the BJP before Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

In fact, at least three dozen leaders, including sitting members of parliament from different parties, have joined the ruling party in recent months. This assumes significance considering the 370-seat target set by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the party and 400-plus seats for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the 2024 elections.  

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The newly inducted BJP leaders include at least 16 from the Congress, eight from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, two each from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the YSR Congress and one each from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), and the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).

Here is a list of the top 10 high-profile Congress leaders who jumped ship to the BJP and how they performed in the last election they fought. Most of these candidates had lost in their previous contests on Congress tickets.  

1- Gourav Vallabh

The Congress party’s popular TV face Gourav Vallabh formally joined the BJP on April 4, hours after quitting the grand old party. Vallabh contested the 2023 Rajasthan Assembly elections on a Congress ticket. He lost the Udaipur seat to BJP candidate Tarachand Jain by over 32,000 votes. Earlier in 2019, Vallabh contested the Jharkhand Assembly elections as a Congress candidate. He finished third in the Jamshedpur East seat.

2- Vijender Singh

Celebrity boxer Vijender Singh joined the BJP on April 3 this year. Singh was a Congress candidate from South Delhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He lost and finished third. BJP leader Ramesh Bidhuri won the seat while Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha finished second in the race. 

3- Ravneet Singh Bittu

Three-time Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu joined the BJP on March 26 this year. Bittu won the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat in Punjab as a Congress candidate in 2014 and 2019. Bittu is the BJP candidate from Ludhiana in the upcoming polls.

4- Naveen Jindal 

Industrialist and former Congress Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal joined the BJP on March 24. A few days later, his mother and former Haryana minister Savitri Jindal also joined the BJP. Jindal had lost the 2014 elections from Kurukshetra. 

Also Read: Manipur violence to 5-G connectivity: 10 things PM Modi said about Northeast ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2024

He was not fielded by the Congress in 2019. He will, however, be the BJP’s candidate from the same seat in Haryana in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 

5- Preneet Kaur

Patiala Member of Parliament Preneet Kaur joined the BJP on March 14. Kaur, wife of former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, had won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Patiala in Punjab on a Congress ticket. She had won the seat in 2009 too but lost in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. 

6- Ashok Tanwar             

Former Congress Member of Parliament (MP), Ashok Tanwar had lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election from the Sirsa seat in Haryana by over 3 lakh votes. Before joining the BJP in January this year, Tanwar had jumped ship to the AAP from the Congress. He lost the Sirsa seat in 2014 too but had won in 2009 on a Congress ticket. Tanwar is the BJP candidate from Sirsa in 2024. 

7- Jyotiraditya Scindia         

The Union civil aviation minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia  is contesting the 2024 general elections from the Guna seat in Madhya Pradesh. Scindia had lost the seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as a Congress candidate. He joined the BJP in March 2020. 

8- Jitin Prasada

Jitin Prasada, a minister in the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government, is contesting the upcoming election from the Pilibhit seat in Uttar Pradesh. Prasada replaced sitting MP Varun Gandhi. 

Also Read: Lok Sabha elections: ‘More Congress leaders to join BJP in Assam,’ Himanta Biswa Sarma says ‘exodus started after…’

Prasada, who joined the BJP in January 2021, had lost and finished third from the Dhaurahra seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections that he contested on a Congress ticket. He lost the seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections too, finishing fourth. 

9- Arjun Modhwadia             

Veteran Congress leader and former president of the party’s Gujarat unit, Arjun Modhwadia joined the BJP in Gandhinagar on March 6, a day after resigning as Congress MLA from Porbandar. Modhwadia had won the 2022 assembly elections from Gujarat’s Porbandar. Modhwadia, 67, has been associated with the grand old party in Gujarat for about four decades. 

10- Jagadish Shettar

Lingayat leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar returned to the BJP in January. Shettar had quit the saffron party and joined the Congress ahead of the 2023 Karnataka assembly polls, eventually won by the Congress party. The former chief minister was fielded by the Congress party in the 2023 polls. But he lost the Hubli-Dharwad Central seat by a margin of about 35,000 votes. 

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Published: 09 Apr 2024, 02:58 PM IST


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