Rita Bahuguna joins BJP, deals a blow to Cong ahead of UP polls

New Delhi/Lucknow: Former Congress president of Uttar Pradesh Rita Bahuguna Joshi resigned from her party on Thursday and joined Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

After joining the saffron party in the presence of BJP President Amit Shah, she hit out at Rahul Gandhi for his “khoon ki dalali” remark. Addressing the media, she said, “Today I have resigned from Congress to join BJP. Developments in recent past have left me numb. Rahul Gandhi’s leadership is not acceptable to people.”

She also said that she had served the Congress for 24 years but she felt that it had lost its reputation. Rita Bahuguna was the president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee from 2007 to 2012 and is the daughter of Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, a former chief minister of UP. She is currently an MLA from Lucknow Cantonment constituency.

Though she is not considered as a major political force, her departure will certainly undercut Congress’s Brahmin outreach, estimated to constitute around 14 percent of the electorate in Uttar Pradesh.

Her exit from Congress is no surprise. In the last few days, whispers had been loud enough to hear that she was about to join the BJP. A clear indication came when she openly praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘bold decision’ to strike terrorist launch pads in occupied Kashmir.

The apparent reason for snapping her long association with Congress is Rahul’s treatment of senior leaders, including her. Her departure has once again raised questions about Congress Vice-President’s leadership qualities and his ability to lead his party in the crucial UP polls.

In a knee-jerk reaction, Congress has hit out at Rita Bahuguna and her family. Raj Babbar, UP Congress president called her a “traitor.” “Betrayal has been a history of Rita Bahuguna and her family. Even her brother left the Congress and went to BJP,” the actor-turned politician said. Little did he realize that her family, including her father, is one of the most respected ones in Uttar Pradesh. Instead of blaming deserting leaders, Congress should introspect and take corrective action.

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