NEW DELHI: In a huge setback to the Congress party, its senior leader Jitin Prasada on Wednesday formally joined the BJP. He was formally inducted into the party in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal and other top saffron leaders at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.

 

 

After Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, 47 is the second top Congress leader and former close aide of Rahul Gandhi to defect to the BJP.

Speculation was rife even during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections about Jitin Prasada joining the BJP, but it is believed that the Congress leadership had then managed to persuade him against quitting the party.

Sources in the BJP said that he may be asked to contest the upcoming state assembly polls in 2022 and then he might play a role in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

During the last state assembly elections, Congress’s UP in-charge Priyanka Gandhi was in favour of fielding a popular Brahmin face against BJP stalwart Rajnath Singh in Lucknow and Jitin Prasada’s name was also reportedly discussed.

Prasada was, however, reluctant to pick up the gauntlet. Sources said that he was not ready to shift from his traditional seat Dhaurara to contest from Lucknow.

After Jitin Prasada, who was among the G-23 leaders that demanded a free and fair organisational election in the Congress party last year, some others from the Congress party may soon join BJP in the days to come.

Jitin Prasad’s defection to BJP ahead of the state assembly elections in UP will surely hurt the Congress party, which has been trying hard to revive itself in the BJP-ruled state.

Prasada, a former Union minister, comes from a well-known Brahmin family of Uttar Pradesh and was serving as the Congress leader in-charge of West Bengal before joining the BJP. His father Jitendra Prasada was a noted Congress leader.

With the Congress in dire straits in Uttar Pradesh and he himself losing the Lok Sabha polls twice in a row, Prasada’s decision to join the BJP may help him politically at a time when the saffron party is working overtime to boost its ranks in preparation for the assembly polls.

It will also help the BJP keep Brahmins, a section of whom are said to be unhappy with the party in Uttar Pradesh, in good humour in the politically important state, party sources said.

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