In what is being seen as a big setback for the Congress ahead of the 2022 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, former Union minister and party leader Jitin Prasada, who had been disillusioned with the grand old party, switched over to the BJP on Wednesday.
Several BJP leaders, Including Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, welcomed Prasada into the party fold and termed the Congress party a “sinking ship”.
“@JitinPrasada Welcome to Bharatiya Janata Party. I am confident that his joining the party will further strengthen the resolve of BJP for public service in Uttar Pradesh,” Shah tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
Prasada, who was also part of the G-23 group in Congress that had written a letter registering its dissent with the party leadership, joined the saffron party in the presence of BJP chief JP Nadda after meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.
Welcoming Prasada, Himanta Biswa compared the Congress with the sinking of Titanic.
“We welcome his move of leaving Congress and joining the larger family of BJP. The Bharatiya Janata Party will definitely strengthen and benefit from his leadership in Uttar Pradesh,” tweeted UP Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath
कांग्रेस छोड़कर भाजपा के वृहद परिवार में शामिल होने पर श्री जितिन प्रसाद जी का स्वागत है।श्री जितिन प्रसाद जी के भारतीय जनता पार्टी में शामिल होने से उत्तर प्रदेश में पार्टी को अवश्य मजबूती मिलेगी।
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) June 9, 2021
Disgruntled Congress leader Sanjay Jha tweeted: “Jitin Prasad is BJP’s gain, Congress’s loss. Period. I just spoke to him recently; Jitin is a gentleman, genial and generous-hearted. You can’t blame the BJP for picking up disgruntled leaders from the Congress. If I was Amit Shah I would do the same. That’s politics.”
Considered close to Rahul Gandhi, Prasada in 2019 rubbished rumours of being upset with the Congress leadership and switching over to BJP. He is the second leader close to Gandhi after Jyotiraditya Scindia to switch over to the BJP.
Prasada was targeted internally after being part of the group which wrote a letter questioning the leadership of Gandhis in the Congress party. The party’s unit in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri had even passed a resolution demanding his expulsion. Sources also reveal that Prasada was not happy with being denied the post of UPCC chief, which was given to Ajay Kumar Lallu.
Prasada, who had represented the Dhaurahra Lok Sabha seat in Lakhimpur Kheri in 2019, has been maintaining his distance from the party’s activities for some time now. However, he has been working under the umbrella of Brahman Chetna Parishad, a front formed by him to raise the issues faced by the Brahmin community in the state. As per sources, Prasada may be asked to contest the upcoming UP assembly elections on a BJP ticket.