Rita Bahuguna Joshi jumps Congress ship, follows brother to join BJP in Amit Shah’s presence

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In a jolt to Congress in poll- bound Uttar Pradesh, senior party leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi today joined BJP and attacked Rahul Gandhi over the way he was running the party and his reaction to the armys surgical strikes.

67-year-old Joshi, daughter of late Congress veteran Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, over whom there has been speculation of deserting Congress, joined BJP in the presence of party president Amit Shah at the party headquaters here.

A former UPCC president who resigned as a Congress MLA on Thursday, said there is no alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP.

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Joshi, who was said to be unhappy with the Congress leadership over projection of Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial face in Uttar Pradesh, rued the present state of affairs in the party, alleging that it is in such a bad shape that it has contracted out its working to strategist Prashant Kishore.

Slamming Rahul for his dalali barb at Modi over the surgical strikes, Joshi said she has been disheartened by the events which happened in the last few days.

“India is fighting terrorism and the Modi government has given the army a free hand. Besides valour of the army, the governments strong leadership was also behind the surgical strikes.

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“Along with the nation, I too was happy. The whole world accepted Indias arguments behind the strikes. Congress, however, behaved like a small party and went on to question it. The whole nation was upset with a phrase like khoon like dalali,” she said attacking Gandhi.

His remarks gave Pakistan an opportunity to question surgical strikes, she said, adding that political differences over national interest were not good.

Noting that she had spent 24 years out of 27 years of her political career in Congress and only 10 months in Samajwadi Party, she said, “The decision to quit Congress was not easy. However, I took it in the interest of the nation and the state (UP).”

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Her joining BJP is expected to give a boost to the partys efforts to consolidate Brahmin voters as it looks to capture power in the state following a gap of over 15 years.

The assembly polls in UP are due early next year. Ruling Samajwadi Parry and BSP have been in the power by turn all this while.

(With inputs from PTI)

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