When Jitin Prasada had almost quit Congress and joined BJP in 2019 | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: What might not have happened in March 2019 happened on Wednesday when senior Congress leader Jitin Prasada, led by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, joined the BJP at the party headquarters. Jitin is believed to have almost quit the Congress and was about to join the BJP before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, the rebellion was suppressed after the then Congress President Rahul Gandhi took a car drive.
Son of former Congress leader late Jitendra Prasad, the party’s Brahmin face in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Jitin contested and won the 2004 Lok Sabha election from Shahjahanpur in the state. He won the 2009 parliamentary election from Dhaurahra. However, he lost the latter two Lok Sabha elections from the seat and in the 2017 UP assembly elections.
Jitin Prasad’s first rebellion
Just before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, there was a strong buzz of Jitin joining the BJP. He was angry with the Congress for two reasons – first, for the party to field him from Lucknow instead of his chosen constituency, Dhaurhara. The BJP had fielded Defense Minister Rajnath Singh from the capital of UP.
Jitin was also angry at the Congress leadership for fielding Muslim candidates from Kheri and Sitapur, adjacent to Dhaurhara. His concern was that it would polarize votes against him.
There were strong rumors of Jitin leaving the Congress and joining the BJP. The discussion intensified as its first list of 184 candidates announced on March 21, 2019, BJP announced the candidature of Rajnath Singh from Lucknow, but it did not name any candidate from Dhaurahra.
However, with Rahul Gandhi half an hour’s car drive from his official residence in Tughlaq Lane to the airport, Jitin Prasada is believed to have changed his mind and decided to remain in the Congress.
G-23 Member
Last year, Jitin Prasada was one of the signatories to a letter written by G-23 – a group of 23 top Congress leaders – to interim president Sonia Gandhi demanding major reforms, collective decision-making and full-time visible leadership.
The Likhimpur Kheri district unit of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) targeted former Union minister Jitin Prasada for being one of the 23 signatories of the letter. Dhaurahra comes under Likhimpur Kheri district.
The Lakhimpur Kheri unit of Congress made a special mention of Prasad’s name and said that he is the only G-23 member from UP. It condemned Jitin Prasad’s move and demanded strictest disciplinary action against him.
However, the Congress leadership tried to pacify Prasad by appointing him as the General Secretary in charge of West Bengal. It is another matter that Prasad contracted COVID-19 ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections and BK Hariprasad filled the gap.
Jitendra Prasad’s rebellion against Sonia Gandhi
Demanding action against all 23 signatories, the Lakhimpur Kheri unit of the Congress had alleged that Prasad had a family history of opposing the Gandhi family. It states that Prasad’s father, the late Jitendra Prasad, contested against Sonia Gandhi and gave evidence (of the family being against the Gandhi family).
Jitendra Prasad contested against Sonia Gandhi for the post of Congress President in November 2000. However, he was defeated in the crucial election. He died a few months later of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Setting aside that episode, Congress gave ticket to Jitin Prasada from Shahjahanpur in 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Upon winning the election, he became one of the youngest Union ministers in the Manmohan Singh government. He won again in 2009 and remained a Union Minister.
However, her ties with the Gandhi family soured in 2019, over the Congress’ bid to field her from Lucknow against Rajnath Singh in the parliamentary election.
Since then Jitin Prasada was feeling isolated in the party.

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