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Uttarakhand minister Yashpal Arya, son join Congress

New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) In a setback for the BJP, Uttarakhand Cabinet Minister Yashpal Arya joined Congress on Monday along with his son who is also an MLA in the state.

Congress Chief Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "Arya has sent his resignation to the Chief Minister."

The Congress has got a big boost ahead of elections as Arya is a prominent Dalit leader in Uttarakhand. He had left the Congress to join Bharatiya Janata Party during last elections. Arya was holding Excise Transport and Social Welfare ministry in the state.

Congress General Secretary and Chairman of the Campaign Committee Harish Rawat, who has been instrumental in the whole operation, said that the Congress has got a big boost in the state after Arya came back to the party fold.

Uttarakhand goes to polls next year and the Congress is the main opposition party in the state.

With BJP leaders joining Congress, which was on shaky ground due to the entry of the Aam Aadmi Party in the state, is likely to be strengthened. Moreover, internal rift within the party will also subside, the party claimed.

The Congress has recently appointed Rawat as Campaign Committee Chief but has not declared him as the chief ministerial candidate. However, supporters of Rawat are pushing his name up. The Congress has said that it will go for collective leadership in the state.