Congress faces big jolt as Jitin Prasada joins BJP ahead of UP polls

Amid continued discord in its Punjab and Rajasthan units, the Congress encountered a major startle on Wednesday when it lost Jitin Prasada, a prominent young face from Uttar Pradesh, to the opposition BJP.

Walking in his father Jitender Prasada’s footsteps, who had contested against Sonia Gandhi for Congress President post in 1999, Jitin too raised a banner of revolt against his own party, and quitted ahead of the critical elections of Uttar Pradesh 2022.

Jitin was part of the group of 23 leaders who had earlier written to party chief Sonia Gandhi in October 2020 requesting organisational overtake and elections at all levels.

Stories that 47-year-old Jitin is planning to quit the Congress and wants to join the BJP first came to light in March 2019 ahead of Lok Sabha polls when top party leaders along with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra talked him out of desertion and had held him back.

Prasada was made party in-charge for West Bengal, where the Congress lost in the recent polls. The party failed to open its account under Jitin fighting in an alliance with the Left parties.

Jitin, a third generation Congressman, failed to win Lok Sabha polls from his traditional seat Dhaurahra in 2014 and 2019 and also lost the MLA election in the 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Under UPA, Jitin was Minister of State for Steel, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Road Transport and Education, since 2008 and was considered close to Rahul Gandhi.

Prasada’s choice to join the BJP could provoke a wave of fresh revolts from the Congress with several displeased young leaders who are likely to switch sides.

Former Rajasthan deputy CM Sachin Pilot and former MP Milind Deora among others are some of the leaders said to be frustrated in the Congress.

Jitin said that he was joining the BJP to serve society, while he could not fulfil this responsibility when he was a part of the Congress party.

He thanked the saffron party for welcoming him and said the that it was truly a national party and Prime Minister Modi a true national leader.

Prasada’s move to switch parties will worsen the troubles of the Congress leadership which is continuously battling internal disagreement in Punjab, Rajasthan and now even in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka.

While in Punjab former minister Navjot Sidhu has been blatantly striking CM Amarinder Singh, in Rajasthan former deputy CM Pilot has been expressing his discontent over the functioning of AICC and is continuously at hostile with CM Ashok Gehlot.

In Karnataka, the scuffle between DK Sivakumar and Siddharamaiah is rising and in Chhattisgarh senior leader and Health Minister TS Singh Deo is quietly waiting to get an opportunity to become the chief minister.

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