Choudhary Lal Singh rejoins Congress, likely to contest from Udhampur LS constituency

He had quit the party after 2014 general elections

choudhary-lal-singh Chaudhary Lal Singh | PTI

Choudhary Lal Singh, the former minister and founder of the Jammu-based Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan (DSS), rejoined the Congress in New Delhi on Wednesday.

He is likely to be the Congress candidate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Udhampur constituency and may be pitted against the BJP’s Jitender Singh, minister in the PMO, who has won from the constituency two consecutive times.

Singh, who quit the Congress after the 2014 general elections, had joined the BJP and served as a minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government. He was removed from the cabinet for participating in a rally against the Kathua rape and murder accused.

After quitting the BJP, he launched DSS and made the rights of Dogras of Jammu his political plank. In 2019, he contested the Lok Sabha polls from Udhampur-Doda constituency but lost to the BJP candidate by a huge margin.

As a two-time MP from Udhampur, his return to the Congress will bolster the party's prospects in Jammu.

Analysts, however, believe that Singh's joining the Congress is unlikely to turn the tables on the BJP, which commands support in the constituency.

With his return to the Congress, the electoral dynamics of the Udhampur-Doda constituency have become interesting, as the Democratic Azad Party, led by former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, is fielding G.M. Saroori from the constituency. Saroori is likely to divide the Muslim votes, which may benefit the BJP.

There has been resentment in Congress against Singh joining the party due to his track record of switching sides and his defence of the Kathua rape and murder accused in 2017.

However, the Congress believes that Singh would get the support of the party's voters, and that of his supporters in Kathua. Besides, Muslims will rally behind him against the BJP.


Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp