Congress leader Jitin Prasada joins BJP, says ruling party best suited to serve people
Former Union minister and Congress leader Jitin Prasada joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, saying the ruling party is the best suited to serve people during the current challenging times. He called his move a new chapter in his political life and a well-thought-out decision.
“Our family has been associated with the Congress for three generations, but during the last 8-10 years, I felt that if there is any national party, it is the BJP,” he said. Prasada, who earlier met Union home minister Amit Shah, added other parties have been reduced to individuals or regional entities. He said if a party cannot be of help to people, then there is no point in continuing with it.
Union minister Piyush Goyal praised Prasada for continuing to help the people of his constituency despite no longer being their representative in Parliament. Prasada, a two-time Congress member of Parliament, lost the 2014 elections to BJP’s Rekha Sharma.
There was speculation about the possibility of Prasada joining the BJP ahead of the 2019 elections. But he dismissed it then saying he would not address “hypothetical questions” about crossing over to the BJP.
Prasada, a Brahmin, hit the headlines in 2019 when he claimed his community was facing persecution and being largely ignored by the Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh. He also started a Brahma Chetna Samvaad to reach out to the community and offer a platform to give voice to the community’s aspirations.
Brahmins account for around 13% of Uttar Pradesh’s voters and are considered electorally influential in the state. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which has a strong cadre drawn from the Dalit communities, and Samajwadi Party have also reached out to Brahmins. In 2007, of BSP’s 206 lawmakers, 20 were Brahmins. The party also altered its poll slogan to Haathi nahi, Ganesh hai; Brahama, Vishnu, Mahesh hai to woo the so-called upper castes.
BSP chief Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party have made overtures towards the Brahmins by promising grand statues of Lord Parshuram ahead of the polls due in the state next year.
Last year, Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who was among the signatories to a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking organisational changes, alleged Prasada was being targeted in Uttar Pradesh and called it unfortunate. Prasada was also a signatory to the letter. He did not find a place in Congress’s committees formed for the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
In 2020, the Lakhimpur Kheri district Congress unit passed a resolution seeking action against Prasada for alleged anti-Gandhi family stance.