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Manish Khanduri, son of BJP leader and former Uttarakhand CM BC Khanduri, joins Congress

Manish Khanduri, the son of senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister BC Khanduri, joined the Congress party on Saturday in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi.

SNS | New Delhi |

Manish Khanduri, the son of senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister BC Khanduri, joined the Congress party on Saturday in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi.

Reports say that the Congress might field Manish Khanduri from Pauri Lok Sabha constituency – a seat currently held by his father.

BC Khanduri, who retired as a Major General of the Indian Army before joining politics, has already expressed his inability to contest 2019 Lok Sabha elections putting the BJP in a fix.

Pauri is the Khanduri family’s bastion. Ritu Khanduri, Manish’s sister, is the sitting BJP MLA from Yamkeshwar, which falls in the Pauri district. She had on Thursday skipped the MLA meeting of BJP in Dehradun which was called in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

When quizzed by media, Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt had earlier said, “Even if it (Manish joining Congress) happens, it will have little impact on BJP.”

Manish Khanduri is the Head of News Partnerships (India) at Facebook. A graduate of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Manish has also worked as business journalist for several media outlets including Business Standard newspaper.

He has also served as Director, Strategic Planning, at Turner Broadcasting in the US, and Director, Consulting, at Cognizant.

Manish has been active in Uttarakhand every time during elections in which senior Khanduri used to contest.

His joining the Congress comes days after the son of a top Congress leader from Maharashtra joined the BJP.

Sujay Vikhe-Patil, who is the son of Radhakrishan Vikhe-Patil, the Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, was welcomed into the saffron fold by Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on 12 March.

Reports say that Sujay wanted to contest from the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat on a Congress ticket but the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) got the seat as per the seat-sharing arrangement.

On the other hand, the Congress faced a major blow on 14 March when senior Congress leader Tom Vadakkan, who was one of the closest aides of Sonia Gandhi, left to join the BJP.

Vadakkan said that the grand old party’s questioning of the “integrity of the armed forces” during the developments following the Pulwama terror attack hurt him deeply. He also slammed Congress’ dynastic politics.

Vikhe-Patil and Vadakkan are among six Congress and one Trinamool Congress leaders who left their respective parties to join the BJP in the days since 8 March.