The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Hindutva ideology had a "very negative" impact in the northeast where its relevance was almost negligible, said Kiren Rijiju, a former national secretary of the party and MP who has left to join the Congress.
Rijiju, a former MP from Arunachal Pradesh who was considered the face of the BJP in the northeast, resigned Monday to join the Congress.
"I would say the BJP's Hindutva campaign had a very negative impact in the northeast, a region with a dominant minority population. Hindutva failed to cut much ice among the people in the region," Rijiju told IANS.
"I realised that the Congress party was the best option to work for the development of the northeast. I am committed to carrying forward my agenda for overall socio-economic progress of Arunachal Pradesh and the whole of the region," the former MP from Arunachal Pradesh West constituency said.
Rijiju lost the last parliamentary elections to the Congress' Takam Sanjay.
Rijiju, 38, was made national secretary by the BJP early in his political career.
"The problems and sentiments of the people of the northeast were not understood by the BJP leadership. I tried my best to make the leadership realise the intricate problems of the region, but then they simply failed to understand," the former BJP leader said.
The Congress is jubilant after the firebrand BJP leader agreed to resign and join the ruling party.
"This is an important political development and we are happy that he is with us now," Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu said.
The development is significant for the ruling Congress as Arunachal Pradesh goes to the polls to elect a 60-member legislature sometime in October.
"I have no intention to fight the assembly elections," Rijiju said.
"I would rather work for the party and do whatever best I can for the welfare of my state and the region."
The BJP, however, had some harsh words to say about Rijiju by terming him a betrayer.
"He betrayed the very party that gave him a solid platform to launch his political career. He made himself a pawn in the hands of the Congress," BJP's general secretary in-charge of northeast, P. Chandrasekhar Rao, told IANS.