Big jolt for Congress as Jitin Prasada joins BJP
New Delhi, June 9, 2021
Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh Jitin Prasad joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Rajya Sabha member Anil Baluni at the party headquarters here today, giving a big jolt to the opposition party.
Welcoming Prasada, Goyal praised his commitment to serve the people and said that he would play an important role in Uttar Pradesh.
"He will have a major role in Uttar Pradesh politics in the future. He is someone who is connected to the ground realities and is a popular leader in the state," Goyal said.
Prasada thanked BJP president J. P. Nadda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for accepting him in the party.
"The question is not why I'm leaving a party but why I'm joining another party. If there is a party in the real sense today, an institutional party, then it is the BJP. Other parties are either regional or person-specific," he said.
"I feel there is no purpose of your doing politics or staying in a political party if a person is not able to serve or protect the interest of its people. I realized being in Congress and not being able to do the same. So, I joined BJP and my work will only speak for itself."
His father Jitendra Prasada was a prominent "Brahmin" face in Uttar Pradesh, who had challenged Sonia Gandhi's leadership in 1999 and had contested against her for the post of party chief. He died in 2002.
The saffron party believes that Prasada will help it pacify Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh, where the Assembly poll will be held early next year. A party insider said that Prasada could be projected as the Brahmin face of the party which is completely missing in Uttar Pradesh.
Prasada, once close to Rahul Gandhi, was part of Group-23 (G-23) signatories who had written to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi demanding sweeping reforms in the party. Despite being a dissenter, he was tasked with the Congress campaign in West Bengal, which turned out to be a disappointment. Taking a stand against the party, he had opposed the Congress's alliance with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) in West Bengal.