“BJP is truly the only national party which works in an institutional way, while others are all about a few people or confined to specific regions,” Jitin Prasada told reporters after joining the BJP.

BJP National President JP Nadda greets Jatin Prasada after he joined BJP at his residence in New Delhi Wednesday June 9 2021PTI
news Politics Wednesday, June 09, 2021 - 15:31

Congress leader Jitin Prasada joined the BJP on Wednesday, in a shot in the arm for the saffron party as it prepares for assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh scheduled for early next year. He joined the BJP in presence of Union minister Piyush Goyal and its chief spokesperson Anil Baluni.

"The question is not why I'm leaving a party but why I'm joining another party. If there is a party in the real sense today, an institutional party, then it is the BJP. Other parties are either regional or person specific,” Jitin Prasada said after joining the BJP.

He added, "I feel there is no purpose of doing politics or staying in a political party if a person is not able to serve or protect the interest of its people. I realized being in Congress and not being able to do the same. So, I joined BJP and my work will only speak for itself."

The 47-year-old Prasada, a former Union minister, comes from a well known Brahmin family of Uttar Pradesh and was serving as the Congress leader in-charge of West Bengal before joining the BJP. His father Jitendra Prasada was a prominent 'Brahmin' face in Uttar Prasad, who had challenged Sonia Gandhi's leadership in 1999 and had contested against her for the post of party chief. He died in 2002.

With the Congress in dire straits in Uttar Pradesh and he himself losing the Lok Sabha polls twice in a row, Prasada's decision to join the BJP may help him politically at a time when the saffron party is working overtime to boost its ranks in preparation for the assembly polls. It will also help the BJP keep Brahmins, a section of whom are said to be unhappy with the party in Uttar Pradesh, in good humour in the politically important state of India, party sources said.

Speculation was rife even during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections of Prasada joining the BJP, but it is believed that the Congress leadership had then managed to persuade him against quitting the party.

Prasada, once close to Rahul Gandhi, was part of Group-23 (G-23) signatories who had written to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi demanding for sweeping reforms in the party. Despite being a dissenter, he was tasked with the Congress campaign in West Bengal, which turned out to be a disappointment. Taking a stand against the party, he opposed Congress's alliance with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) in West Bengal.

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