Former Union Minister and Congress leader Jitin Prasada has quit the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, 9 June. He was once an aide of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Prasada had met Home Minister Amit Shah before the switch. He joined the party at the BJP headquarters in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal. Later, he went to meet BJP President JP Nadda.
“I was a part of the Congress party for three decades. I have taken this decision to leave the party after a lot of thought. The reason why I decided to join the BJP is because I believe it is the only national political party with a strong organisational structure in the country. Other parties are regional but this is a national party. I hope to serve the people under the strong leadership of Narendra Modi.”Jitin Prasada, after joining the BJP
He further said that he was unable to protect the interests of the people or work for them while being in the Congress. "I thank people in the Congress who blessed me all these years, but now I'll work as a dedicated BJP worker," he was quoted as saying.
'Like My Younger Brother’: Scindia Welcomes Prasada’s Shift from Congress to BJP
After Jyotiraditya Scindia, 47-year-old Prasada will be the second top Congress leader and erstwhile close aide of Rahul Gandhi to defect to the BJP. In 2019, he had denied he was leaving the Congress.
Reacting to the development, Scindia told reporters:
“He is like my younger brother, and I welcome him to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). I congratulate him.”
With the Uttar Pradesh election due in a few months, Prasada, a prominent name in state’s politics and a former Lok Sabha MP from Dhaurahra, said he has decided to leave the Congress because he felt “it was no use staying in a party where there was no will to serve the people of the country.”
One of 23 Leaders Calling for Reforms in Congress
He was one of the 23 senior Congress leaders who had written to party chief Sonia Gandhi in 2020, calling for sweeping reforms, collective decision-making, and "full-time, visible leadership". After the letter, he was one of the very few “dissenters” who was vested with any responsibility in the party. He was tasked with Bengal’s election campaign but that didn’t go down well with the Congress after Prasada publicly criticised the party’s decision to ally with the Indian Secular Front, led by a cleric.
He had tweeted, “Alliance decisions are taken keeping in mind the best interests of the party and the workers. Now is the time for everyone to join hands and work towards strengthening the prospects of the Congress in the poll-bound states.”
Prasada’s family’s strained history with the Gandhis is well known. His father and Congress veteran Jitendra Prasada was against Sonia Gandhi's leadership of the party in 1999. He had fought against her for the post of party president. He passed away in 2002.
‘The Wrecked and Rudderless ‘Titanic’ Continues to Sink’:BJP Leaders Welcome Jitin Prasada to Fold
BJP leaders, including Shah, Yogi Adityanath, Tejaswi Surya and Himanta Biswa Sarma welcomed Prasada to the party.