Fuelling speculation of him joining the BJP, former Uttarakhand Congress president Kishore Upadhyay met senior state BJP leaders on Monday night. The meeting took place in Dehradun at the residence of BJP state organisation general secretary Ajeya Kumar in the presence of party election in-charge Pralhad Joshi.
In the recent past, on some occasions, Upadhyay has been openly critical about the Congress and alleged that he did not get enough justice despite wielding a significant role in establishing the party in the state.
Talking to The Indian Express, Upadhyay however, denied the possibility of him joining the saffron party and said that he is meeting leaders of different parties to convince them to support his Vanadhikar Andolan and ensure that the subject is discussed ahead of the Assembly elections. Upadhyay is the founder of Vanadhikar Andolan, a movement that fights for the right of locals on the state’s forest resources.
“People keep spreading such rumours. I am meeting people of different political parties regarding my forest rights movement. I want that the elections this year are on this issue and not on other negative issues. The speculation of me joining any other political party is baseless,” he said. Asked about his previous statements showing his dissatisfaction with the Congress party, he said that his meetings with other party leaders is not connected to that.
Last year, while interacting with the media, Upadhyay had said that he did not get justice within the Congress. “Harish Rawat is a senior leader, but if Harish Rawat has the highest role in establishing Congress here, then I too have 10-20 percent role. Everybody accepts this, even though I might not have got justice accordingly. I have established the party here… Based on my contribution should I have been a cabinet minister? Shouldn’t I have been the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader or the president. Several times, I was neglected for Rajya Sabha seat. However, I am thankful to the party that they made a poor farmer’s son reach till here,” he had said.
Recently, former BJP MLA from Purola reserved seat in Uttarkashi, Malchand and Uttarkashi zila panchayat president Dipak Bijlwan joined the Congress in Delhi, while ex-IPS officer Anant Ram Chauhan, who was the working president of AAP and head of the party’s Garhwal division, also joined the Congress.