Rita Bahuguna Joshi, former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief, joined BJP months before assembly elections.
Rita Bahuguna Joshi, former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief, joined BJP months before assembly elections.

NEW DELHI (TIP): Senior Congress member from UP Rita Bahuguna Joshi joined BJP on Oct 20 (Thursday) and attacked Rahul Gandhi’s style of functioning and his “khoon ki dalali” comment with regard to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Joshi joins her brother former Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna who had switched sides several months ago and led a revolt against CM Harish Rawat, almost toppling the government. Her move had been anticipated over the past few days.

She is the first Congress leader of note from UP to join BJP after the saffron party was successful in poaching influential BSP leaders like Swami Prasad Maurya.

Joshi said that the nation is not willing to accept Rahul’s leadership and that several senior Congress leaders are upset with him. While Congress chief Sonia Gandhi understands leadership and interacts with different people, Rahul Gandhi is not taken seriously, she said.

For BJP, Joshi’s crossing over is a boost as it is expected to reinforce the impression that it is the preferred choice among upper castes and is seen to be in contention to assume office in next year’s assembly election.

Joshi, 67, daughter of late Congress leader Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, joined BJP in the presence of party chief Amit Shah at the party headquarters here. Joshi, who also gave up her membership of the UP assembly, said there is no alternative to PM Narendra Modi and BJP. Her unhappiness with the Congress leadership is understood to have deepened following the projection of veteran leader Sheila Dikshit as the CM nominee in UP. She said Congress is in such bad shape that it has outsourced its functioning to poll strategist Prashant Kishor. Slamming Rahul Gandhi for his `dalali’ barb, Joshi said, “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.

Noting that she had spent 24 years out of 27 years of her political career in Congress she said, “The decision to quit Congress was not easy . However, I took it in the interest of the nation and the state (UP).”