Senior Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in presence of party president Amit Shah. In her parting note, she hit out at the Congress leadership and specifically party vice-president Rahul Gandhi saying, she served the party for 24 years, but it has lost its reputation. “Rahul Gandhi’s leadership is not acceptable to people,” said Joshi to the media. The Congress party has termed her exit as a ‘betrayal’ and has accused the BJP of amassing an ‘army of traitors’.
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Reacting to Joshi’s exit, Congress leader Raj Babbar said, Rita Bahuguna’s family has a history of switching sides. Her exit will not make any difference, he added.
Speculations were rife about the possibility of Joshi joining BJP ahead of the Assembly polls in the state early next year. A prominent Brahmin face of the party, Joshi had served as Congress UP president between 2007-2012. As reported by the Indian Express earlier on Monday, Joshi was reportedly unhappy with “being sidelined” in the party. Besides that, her non-availability to the media for the last few days has only added fuel to the fire.
In a statement to the media, Joshi said she was hurt by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Khoon ki dalali’ remark with reference to surgical strikes recently conducted by India across several terror launch pads across the LoC. “I have served Congress for 24 years and have taken this decision for the benefit of the nation. How could Congress ask for proof of strikes?” she asked. She also praised party president Amit Shah for his style of functioning.