Former Uttar Pradesh Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi joined the BJP Thursday and slammed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for being “unresponsive”. She said his comments about the Prime Minister doing “khoon ki dalali” on the sacrifice of soldiers was the final trigger for her exit from the Congress.
Welcomed into the party by BJP president Amit Shah at the party headquarters on Ashok Road, Joshi said: “BJP has no agenda but development, no myopic view… I was hurt when Congress questioned the surgical strikes, I had made my displeasure known on Twitter.”
She said the Congress has a problem of leadership with Rahul Gandhi “not being acceptable to the people of the country and unwilling to listen to people in the party. Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi whether she agreed with you or not, at least heard you out.”
Legislator from Lucknow Cantonment, Joshi has sent her resignation from the UP assembly to the Speaker. Daughter of the late Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, Joshi also slammed Congress for its reliance on poll strategist Prashant Kishore saying it is a statement about the party that a “poll manager” is striving to be its leader.
The Congress hit back, calling her an “opportunist” and a “betrayer.” Ghulam Nabi Azad, AICC general secretary in charge of UP, said Joshi was looking for a “safe seat” ever since the SP announced that Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav will be its candidate from Lucknow Cantonment.
“She has been hunting for a safe seat because she felt she will not win. She hunted for a safe seat in the BSP, SP and now has gone to the BJP. Such opportunist leaders do not stick at one place. First, she was in SP, then Congress and now in BJP… nobody knows where she will go tomorrow. This is opportunism,” Azad said.
On her attack on Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, he said these are “excuses.” “Jo bhaag jaata hai, woh gaali de ke bhaag jaata hai (whoever leaves indulges in slander). The real issue is she tried for a safe seat… the rest are excuses. When she got a good deal, she went,” he said. Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar, too, hit out at Joshi and BJP. He said the “one-point programme of the BJP is to amass an army of traitors”.