Putting up a brave face, Congress on Thursday dubbed Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who joined BJP, as a “betrayer”, alleging that she has a family history of switching sides, and insisted that Amit Shah would not be able to gain anything in UP by amassing an “army of traitors”.
Congress’ UP unit chief Raj Babbar also dismissed her criticism of Rahul Gandhi, saying leaders like here who pursued “selfish politics” were afraid that the Congress Vice President was bringing democracy in the party and asserted that Bahuguna’s exit will have no bearing on Congress and its prospects in the poll-bound state.
“Rita Bahuguna Joshi has exhibited betrayal as the party leadership had entrusted full faith in her. Joshi has been a teacher of history and probably that’s why she is repeating her family history of switching sides."
“This is the fourth or fifth such change in her family. Her quitting would make no difference to the Congress party’s prospects in Uttar Pradesh, just as her brother joining BJP made no difference in Uttarakhand,” he told reporters. Launching an attack on BJP, he said the party is showing that it has no faith left in its own leaders.
“In its quest for victory in UP polls, BJP is amassing an army of traitors from other parties. It seems the BJP, which has 71 MPs in the poll-bound state, does not have faith in its own leaders and that is why it is importing party leaders from outside,” he said.
Reacting to Joshi’s exit, party general secretary and incharge of party affairs in UP Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Opportunist leaders do not stick to one place. The real thing was that she is unlikely to win from her seat as the contest was tough.”
Asked about Joshi’s attack on Rahul Gandhi’s leadership qualities, Babbar said all such leaders who acted as “satraps” were feeling insecure as the “kingdoms” of various “Godfathers” were being demolished by the Congress Vice President.
“People who are doing politics for their selfish interest and gains are feeling insecure in Congress as Rahul Gandhi is doing such politics which is harming the interests of such ‘satraps’. Rahul Gandhi is fighting for democracy within the party,” he said.
To a question on whether there is any need for introspection within the Congress in the wake of some leaders quitting the party in recent past, Babbar said, “introspection has started within the party. That is why ‘satraps’ are falling apart and leaving the party.”
Rita Bahuguna joins BJP, slams Rahul Gandhi for ‘Khun Ki dalali’ barb at PM Modi
In a jolt to Congress in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, senior party leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Thursday joined BJP and attacked Rahul Gandhi over the way he was running the party and his reaction to the army’s surgical strikes.
67-year-old Joshi, daughter of late Congress veteran Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, over whom there has been speculation of deserting Congress, joined BJP in the presence of party president Amit Shah at the party headquaters here.
A former UPCC president who resigned as a Congress MLA, said there is no alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP.
Joshi, who was said to be unhappy with the Congress leadership over projection of Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial face in Uttar Pradesh, rued the present state of affairs in the party, alleging that it is in such a bad shape that it has contracted out its working to strategist Prashant Kishore.
Slamming Rahul for his ‘dalali’ barb at Modi over the surgical strikes, Joshi said she has been disheartened by the events which happened in the last few days.
“India is fighting terrorism and the Modi government has given the army a free hand. Besides valour of the army, the government’s strong leadership was also behind the surgical strikes.
“Along with the nation, I too was happy. The whole world accepted India’s arguments behind the strikes. Congress, however, behaved like a small party and went on to question it. The whole nation was upset with a phrase like ‘khoon like dalali’,” she said attacking Gandhi.
His remarks gave Pakistan an opportunity to question surgical strikes, she said, adding that political differences over national interest were not good.
Noting that she had spent 24 years out of 27 years of her political career in Congress and only 10 months in Samajwadi Party, she said, “The decision to quit Congress was not easy. However, I took it in the interest of the nation and the state (UP).”
Her joining BJP is expected to give a boost to the party’s efforts to consolidate Brahmin voters as it looks to capture power in the state following a gap of over 15 years.
The assembly polls in UP are due early next year. Ruling Samajwadi Parry and BSP have been in the power by turn all this while.