Upset over refusal of ticket for the Lok Sabha polls, BJP sitting MP from North West Delhi Udit Raj on Wednesday joined the Congress party. The party took to Twitter and posted a picture of Udit Raj along with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Soon after joining the Congress, Udit Raj said that the party has forced him to leave BJP and now he will raise his voice from the Congress. He further added that he will put dent to 10-15 seats of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
On Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party replaced Raj from the North West Lok Sabha constituency with Punjabi Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans. Raj, who had earlier said he would contest as an independent candidate if the party did not announce his candidature, said he will decide his future course of action after consulting his supporters.
"I will not contest as an independent candidate. They (BJP) are forcing me to leave the party but I have not taken a decision on quitting. I will consult my supporters from across the country," he said. Talking about the possible reasons why he was denied a ticket, Raj said, "When there was bandh in 2018 on SC-ST amendment, I protested, that's why the party leadership seemed to be unhappy with me. When there was no government recruitment happening, was I not supposed to raise the issue? I will continue to raise the issues of Dalits."
In 2018, the Supreme Court had issued a slew of guidelines to protect public servants and private employees from arbitrary arrests under the Atrocities Act. The court directed that public servants can only be arrested with the written permission of their appointing authority.
This was seen as dilution of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which led to protests across the country. The government later brought in an amendment to nullify the top court's order.
Raj claimed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, three to four months ago, had told him that he would not be given a ticket. "I am the best performer in the BJP's internal survey. Nobody talked to me on denial of ticket. If I have faith in Modi and Shah, they should have told me that I would not be given ticket. I have not resigned yet. Showing faith in Modi, we had merged our party with the BJP. Why am I being punished?" he asked.
On the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, supporters of Raj and Hans had raised slogans at the Delhi BJP office on Pandit Pant Marg here. Raj, along with supporters, had reached the office after hearing about Hans being considered by the party for the North West Delhi seat.
(With agency inputs)