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Rita Bahuguna Joshi a betrayer, Shah amassing army of traitors: Cong

Putting up a brave face, Congress today dubbed Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who joined BJP, as a “betrayer”, alleging that she has a family history of switching sides, and insisted that Amit Shah would not be able to gain anything in UP by amassing an “army of traitors”.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2016 19:36 IST
Congress,Rita Bahuguna Joshi,Amit Shah
BJP president Amit Shah looks on as former UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi speaks to media after joining the Bharatiya Janata Party at party headquarters in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

The Congress dubbed Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, as a “betrayer” on Thursday, alleging that she has a family history of switching sides.

The party also insisted that BJP president Amit Shah will not be able to gain anything in Uttar Pradesh by amassing an “army of traitors”.

The 67-year-old Joshi, daughter of late Congress veteran Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, joined the BJP in the presence of Shah at the party headquarters in New Delhi. She attacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s handling of the grand, old party as well as his reaction to the army’s surgical strikes.

Joshi’s move, which came months ahead of the state elections, is widely seen as a big jolt to the Congress, with which she was associated for 24 years.

The Congress’ UP unit chief, Raj Babbar, dismissed Joshi’s criticism of Gandhi, saying leaders like her who pursued “selfish politics” were afraid that the Congress vice-president was ushering in democracy into the party.

He asserted that Joshi’s exit will have no bearing on Congress and its prospects in the poll-bound state.

“Rita Bahuguna Joshi has exhibited betrayal as the party leadership had entrusted full faith in her. Joshi has been a teacher of history and probably that’s why she is repeating her family history of switching sides,” he told reporters.

Read: For the Bahugunas blood is thicker than party ties

Launching an attack on the BJP, he said the party was showing that it had no faith left in its own leaders.

“In its quest for victory in UP polls, BJP is amassing an army of traitors from other parties. It seems the BJP, which has 71 MPs in the poll-bound state, does not have faith in its own leaders and that is why it is importing party leaders from outside,” he said.

Reacting to Joshi’s exit, Ghulam Nabi Azad, the party general secretary and in-charge of party affairs in UP, said: “Opportunist leaders do not stick to one place. The real thing was that she is unlikely to win from her seat as the contest was tough.”

Asked about Joshi’s attack on Gandhi’s leadership qualities, Babbar said all such leaders who acted as “satraps” were feeling insecure as the “kingdoms” of various “godfathers” were being demolished by the Congress vice-president.

“People who are doing politics for their selfish interest and gains are feeling insecure in Congress as Rahul Gandhi is doing such politics which is harming the interests of such ‘satraps’. Rahul Gandhi is fighting for democracy within the party,” he said.

To a question on whether there is any need for introspection within the Congress in the wake of some leaders quitting the party in recent past, Babbar said: “Introspection has started within the party. That is why ‘satraps’ are falling apart and leading the party.”

First Published: Oct 20, 2016 19:03 IST