Rita Bahuguna Joshi considered one of the most prominent faces in the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh till this morning is now a BJP member.
Her move, switching over from the Congress to the BJP is yet another pointer to the failure of Rahul Gandhi’s leadership in Congress.
Former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday, dealing a blow to the party ahead of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
On Monday, the Congress party had denied rumours that the 67-year-old Lucknow Cantonment legislator would follow her brother, former party leader and ex-Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, to the BJP.
“I served Congress for 24 years, have taken decision to join BJP for benefit of nation,” Joshi said.
Joshi rued the present state of affairs in the party, alleging that it is in such a bad shape that it has contracted out its working to poll strategist Prashant Kishore. “He can be a poll manager but not the poll director… We (Congress leaders) found out where to go, what to say only a night before,” she said.
Slamming Rahul for his ‘dalali’ barb at Modi over the surgical strikes, Joshi said she has been disheartened by the events that took place over the last few days. “People have rejected Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. Only BJP, PM Modi can help the country.”
“India is fighting terrorism and the Modi government has given the army a free hand. Besides valour of the army, the government’s strong leadership was also behind the surgical strikes.
“Along with the nation, I too was happy. The whole world accepted India’s arguments behind the strikes. The Congress, however, behaved like a small party and went on to question it. The whole nation was upset with a phrase like ‘dalali’,” she said attacking Gandhi.
Bahuguna, daughter of former chief minister late Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, was said to be unhappy with the party’s choice of Sheila Dikshit, the former Delhi CM, as the chief ministerial candidate. She also felt marginalized after Raj Babbar was named the state chief.
Rita’s entry into the ruling party at the Centre is yet another indicator that the BJP continues to be the biggest political magnet. In politics, symbolism is important and has its own implications. She may not bring some real value to the BJP but she would surely be of huge symbolic value to the BJP.
The development comes at a time when the Congress is trying to revive its fortunes in the country’s most populous state where it has been out of power for 27 years and has been reduced to a bit player by regional parties.
The Congress vice-president recently concluded a month-long tour of the state to win over farmers, who form a sizable chunk of the electorate and are battling mounting debts.