Senior journalist MJ Akbar on Saturday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying he was returning to politics because the country was in "crisis".
MJ Akbar addresses a meet during Hindustan Times summit in New Delhi. (HT Photo)
"Main rajniti me niti ke liye wapas aya hu (I have come back to politics for principle). The crisis in front of the country is known to all. This is an opportunity to do whatever little we can do for our country," Akbar told journalists after BJP president Rajnath Singh welcomed him.
"It is our duty to join hands with the voice of the nation and bring the country back to a recovery mission. I look forward to working in the BJP," said Akbar, who once contested elections from Kishanganj in Bihar on a Congress ticket.
He said he supported BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and defended him against allegations that the Gujarat leader failed to stop the 2002 communal riots. "It is not only that there is crisis, but now I also see
a solution to the crisis. Narendra Modi's leadership is essential for the country," he said.
"In 10 years, no other politician has gone through so much scrutiny as Modi has gone through. He was scrutinised by police, central government, CBI, court-appointed institution. And those who rake up this issue all the time, I want to tell them to read the Justice (VR) Krishna report (on Gujarat riots). How many people are there in Gujarat who are in jail through the legal system? More than 100. Can one tell me the numbers as far as the 1984 and 1993 riots are concerned?" he said.
Akbar said he hoped that Muslims will join hands with BJP and will come out of the "politics of fear". He said he was a friend of late Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi but said 20 years had passed since their association.
Rajnath Singh said "stalwarts" from various fields were joining the BJP. "Now prominent people from media too are accepting membership of BJP to give this country a stable government. Akbar is known to be one of the stalwarts in media and has accepted to join the party. I welcome him," said Singh.
Jaswant Singh to resign?
The news about Akbar's appointment in the party, however, comes at a time when senior leader Jaswant Singh is likely to resign after being denied a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha election from Barmer in Rajasthan.
Singh, who was foreign minister in Atal Behari Vajpayee's government and represented Darjeeling in the 15th Lok Sabha, may fight as an Independent from the constituency.
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