UP Congress Prez Rita Bahuguna Joshi Joins BJP

UP Congress Prez Rita Bahuguna Joshi Joins BJP

New Delhi: Former Uttar Pradesh Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in New Delhi in the presence of BJP chief Amit Shah.

Addressing reporters later, Joshi attacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of not listening to party leaders. “Sonia Gandhi used to listen to us, Rahul does not,” she said.

The 67-year-old leader also accused the Congress of doing politics over the Indian Army’s surgical strikes. “When the whole world has accepted that we carried out surgical strikes, I didn’t like it when Congress and other parties questioned it,” she said.

She said she was hurt by Rahul’s “khoon ki dalaali” remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Rahul had accused Modi of taking political advantage of the Army’s cross-border operation.

Hailing the Indian Army’s September 29 surgical strikes in Pakistani territory, she said it was a “big accomplishment of the government along with that of the army”.

Joshi, who had been with the Congress for 24 years, said it was not an easy decision for her but she had taken it in the interest of the country and Uttar Pradesh.

Joshi, who represented Lucknow Cantonment constituency for the Congress in UP Assembly, was the face of the party in the 2012 election in UP, where it finished a poor fourth. She said she has resigned as an MLA. The 67-year-old leader was the president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee from 2007 to 2012.

Her brother and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna had also led a revolt against the Congress government in Uttarakhand earlier this year, forcing the imposition of the President’s Rule in the state. Bahuguna later joined the BJP.

The Congress downplayed Joshi joining the BJP, calling it a “family tradition” within the Bahuguna household.

“She used to be a professor of history. Perhaps that is why she has done a good job of repeating the family history. This is the fourth or fifth such event in her family,” Raj Babbar, who is not the UP Congress chief, told reporters.