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When Jitin Prasada had almost left Congress and joined the BJP in 2019 | India News

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NEW DELHI: What may not have happened in March 2019 materialized on Wednesday when Congress leader Jitin Prasada, piloted by Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, joined the BJP at the party headquarters. It is believed that Jitin almost resigned from Congress and was on the verge of joining the BJP before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, the rebellion was interrupted after a car trip he had with then-President of Congress, Rahul Gandhi. .
The son of the late former congressional leader Jitendra Prasada, the Brahmin face of the party in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Jitin had contested and won the 2004 elections for Lok Sabha of Shahjahanpur in the state. He won the 2009 Dhaurahra parliamentary elections. However, he lost the two subsequent Lok Sabha elections from the seat and also the 2017 UP assembly elections.
The first rebellion of Jitin Prasada
Right before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections there was a loud buzz of Jitin joining the BJP. He was upset with Congress for two reasons: First, because of the party’s offer to run it from Lucknow instead of its chosen constituency of Dhaurahra. The BJP had dispatched Defense Minister Rajnath Singh from the UP capital.
Jitin was also upset by the congressional leadership for running Muslim candidates from Kheri and Sitapur, which are adjacent to Dhaurahra. His concern was that this would lead to polarization of the votes against him.
There were strong rumors that Jitin left Congress and joined the BJP. The rumor grew louder as in its first list of 184 candidates announced on March 21, 2019, the BJP announced the candidacy of Rajnath Singh from Lucknow, but did not name any candidate from Dhaurahra.
However, on a half-hour car ride with Rahul Gandhi from his official residence on Tughlak Lane to the airport, it is believed that Jitin Prasada changed his mind and decided to stay in Congress.
G-23 member
Last year, Jitin Prasada was one of the signatories of a letter written by the G-23, a group of 23 senior congressional leaders, to Acting President Sonia Gandhi demanding major reforms, collective decision-making and visible full-time leadership. .
The Likhimpur Kheri district unit of the Uttar Pradesh Congressional Committee (UPCC) targeted Jitin Prasada, a former Union minister, as one of 23 signatories to the letter. Dhaurahra belongs to the Likhimpur Kheri district.
The Lakhimpur Kheri unit in Congress made a special mention of Prasada’s name and said he was the only member of the UP G-23. Condemning Jitin Prasada’s move, he demanded the strictest possible disciplinary action against him.
However, the leadership of Congress sought to placate Prasada by appointing him as the secretary general in charge of West Bengal. Another matter is that Prasada contracted COVID-19 before the West Bengal assembly elections and BK Hariprasad filled the gap.
Jitendra Prasada’s rebellion against Sonia Gandhi
While demanding action against the 23 signatories, the Lakhimpur Kheri unit of Congress had alleged that Prasada had a family history of opposing the Gandhis. He said that Prasada’s late father, Jitendra Prasada, had given proof (that the family was against the Gandhis) by competing against Sonia Gandhi.
Jitendra Prasada had faced Sonia Gandhi for the post of president of Congress in November 2000. However, he was convincingly defeated in crucial elections. He died of a brain hemorrhage a couple of months later.
That episode aside, Congress gave Jitin Prasada a ticket in the 2004 Shahjahanpur Lok Sabha elections. By winning the elections, he became one of the youngest Union ministers in Manmohan Singh’s government. He won again in 2009 and remained central minister.
However, his relations with the Gandhis soured in 2019 when over the congressional offer to run him from Lucknow against Rajnath Singh in the parliamentary elections.
Jitin Prasada had felt marginalized in the party ever since.



Times of India

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