NEW DELHI: Congress MLA Rajkumar, a Dalit leader who represents Purola constituency in the Uttarakhand assembly, joined the BJP on Sunday with the saffron party asserting this is a big indication of its victory in the coming polls in the state.

Joining the BJP in the presence of Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, state party president Madan Kaushik and Rajya Sabha MP from the state Anil Baluni, Rajkumar lauded the BJP governments at the Centre and in Uttarakhand for ushering in infrastructure development like all-weather roads.

He also heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and claimed that while the Congress made Dalits dependent on doles the BJP has worked to make them self-reliant. Rajkumar, who was in the BJP earlier too, praised the Modi government for providing free grains to the poor following the COVID-19 outbreak and taking other welfare measures.

Recently, independent MLA Pritam Singh Panwar had also joined the BJP as the party boosts its firepower to take on the Congress in the assembly polls in the hilly state, slated for early next year. Pradhan praised Rajkumar as a people’s leader, and said his joining the BJP is a big indication of the party’s win in the polls.

He said that under Modi and Dhami, the BJP will win and the state will have a “double-engine” government. Baluni said that Rajkumar was a big leader.

Rajkumar also lauded Baluni for his work to boost development in the hill state, and said he was also making effort in this regard. Dhami said the MLA was a grassroots leader whose induction will help the BJP.