In what is being seen as a shot in the arm for the ruling Congress ahead of the assembly polls in Uttarakhand, influential BJP leader Narendra Rautela has joined the party along with his supporters. Mr Rautela, who joined the Congress at the party’s Dehradun office yesterday in the of Pradesh Congress Committee president Kishore Upadhyay, was welcomed by chief minister Harish Rawat himself. Political observers feel that the inclusion of Mr Rautela in the Congress’ ranks has bolstered the party’s chances in the forthcoming assembly polls next year, while severely denting the BJP revival in Uttarakhand. But BJP president Ajay Bhatt described the development as “good riddance” for the party “Rautela’s departure will make no difference to the BJP. While he was with us, he only worked for the Congress,” said BJP’s Munna Singh Chauhan. Mr Rautela, who hails from Ranikhet, enjoys substantial support in the area and is considered to be a seasoned politician who could help the Congress win a second term in the Uttarakhand.