VC Shukla joins BJP
In a shot in the arm for BJP, former Union Minister VC Shukla on March 13 merged his shortlived Rashtriya Janatantrik Dal with it and the converted Congress leader openly admitted that the Emergency, during which he was a prominent player, was a "mistake".
The saffron party also netted another significant catch when former AICC member and son of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Rafiq Sadiq joined it describing the Congress-PDP Government in the state as "anti-people and anti-democratic."
BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu handed over the membership slips to both the leaders at the party headquarters. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and state unit President Nand Kumar Sai were also present.
Welcoming both into the party, Naidu said the exodus of "traditional Congressmen" such as Shukla, Sadiq, Bangarappa, Laxman Singh and members of the Nehru-Gandhi family into BJP showed that they had lost faith in the Congress leadership.
"This election will mark the ultimate decline of the Congress party from the national horizon," he declared.
Answering queries, Shukla, who had floated the Dal after the Sharad Pawar-Sangma split in the NCP, said he was joining BJP as getting a symbol for his party for the coming polls was posing a problem. He also recalled his long-standing "friendship" with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee since the time they joined Parliament together in 1957.
"The Emergency was a mistake. Even Indira Gandhi admitted it before her death," Shukla, who was a close associate of the late Sanjay Gandhi, said in response to a question.