Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Jitin Prasada on Wednesday jumped ship to join the BJP in the presence of Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Rajya Sabha member Anil Baluni at the party's headquarters.
"He will have a major role in Uttar Pradesh politics in the future. He is someone who is connected to the ground realities and is a popular leader in the state," Piyush Goyal said. Jitin Prasada's father, Jitendra Prasada, too, was an influential Congress leader who resisted Sonia Gandhi's leadership in 1999 and contested against her for the post of party chief.
"The question is not why I'm leaving a party but why I'm joining another party. If there is a party in the real sense today, an institutional party, then it is the BJP. Other parties are either regional or person specific," said Prasada, while also thanking BJP president JP Nadda, PM Narendra Modi, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for accepting him into the party. Prasada is the second high profile leader to exit the Congress after Jyotiraditya Scindia last year.
The BJP hopes to appease the Brahmin population of UP with Prasada's induction for the upcoming Assembly elections. Prasad had set up a Brahmin Chetna Parishad in July 2020 claiming to "give a voice" to the Brahmin community. Brahmins constitute 13% of UP's population.
"I feel there is no purpose of your doing politics or staying in a political party if a person is not able to serve or protect the interest of its people. I realized being in Congress and not being able to do the same. So, I joined BJP and my work will only speak for itself," Prasada added. Prasada, a former close aide of Rahul Gandhi, is one of the 23 signatories on the letter to interim president Sonia Gandhi demanding reforms within the party and party leadership.
Though he stood his ground against the Congress decision to ally with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) in the Bengal assembly elections, he was in charge of the campaign. The alliance, however, was defeated.