Former AAP member Shazia Ilmi joins BJP, praises Modi

  • HT Correspondent, Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 17, 2015 03:13 IST

The BJP inducted former high-profile Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi on Friday, drawing barbs from her one-time allies that the saffron party had become Arvind Kejriwal’s B-team ahead of next month’s Delhi assembly poll.

Ilmi, who broke ranks with Kejriwal and his party some time ago, said she would be with the BJP for the rest of her life and expect “nothing” in return from the party.

“There is indeed a new political discourse in the country, and we must all be a part of it,” she said, adding she had differences with the BJP and the Congress in the past.

“But in the past six months I realised Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing a good job. The way he invoked Mahatma Gandhi’s name for the Swacch Bharat campaign is very impressive.”

The former television journalist said she wouldn’t contest the February 7 poll and hoped the party would respect her decision.

Ilmi was reportedly unhappy that the AAP fielded her in the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh where she finished a distant fifth — losing by over 5.5 lakh votes to the BJP’s General (retired) VK Singh, now Union minister of development of northeastern region.

She contested and narrowly lost the December 2013 assembly election on an AAP ticket for the RK Puram constituency.

“I have not asked for anything. It is an opportunity to serve my city and nation. However, I am ready to take up any responsibility the party gives me,” said the former AAP spokesperson and a popular face of the India Against Corruption movement spearheaded by Anna Hazare and Kejriwal.

Her induction, along with that of former police officer Kiran Bedi the previous day, gave the AAP the opportunity to scale up its campaign against the Delhi BJP which they say has become leaderless.

“Why does the BJP need Kiran Bedi, Shazia Ilmi, all from the Anna Hazare (anti-corruption) movement and the friends of Arvind Kejriwal? That shows a serious leadership crisis in the BJP. They need Arvind Kejriwal’s friend to fight the election,” said AAP leader Ashutosh.

Social media, too, was abuzz with some of her past tweets criticising the BJP and the Congress doing the rounds. Even Kejriwal had retweeted one of her November 2013 tweets titled “Hypocrisy, thy name is BJP”.

Along with Ilmi, music director Anand Raaj Anand too joined the party.

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