Dehradun, Sept 29: In what is being seen as a shot in the arm for ruling Congress ahead of the Assembly polls in Uttarakhand, influential BJP leader from Ranikhet, Narendra Rautela, has joined the party along with his supporters.
Rautela who joined the party at Congress office here yesterday in the presence of PCC president Kishore Upadhyay was welcomed into the party fold by Chief Minister Harish Rawat, saying it will strengthen the party.
Political observers here feel that Congress has made a dent into the BJP citadel of Ranikhet represented in the state assembly currently by Uttarkhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt.
However, BJP described Rautela's defection to Congress as "good riddance" for the party. "Rautela's departure will make no difference to BJP. Even while he was with us, he worked for Congress. It is good riddance for BJP ," state BJP spokesman Munna Singh Chauhan said.
Countering the perception that Rautela's defection to Congress was a shot in the arm for the party in power ahead of assembly polls in the state, the BJP spokesman said Rautela seldom visits his area and has lost his support base. Assembly polls in Uttarakhand are due next year.