Another big wicket gone: Senior Congress leader, close to Rahul Gandhi, joins BJP!

In what has become another political bowl out, the Congress party has lost another big wicket ahead of the crucial assembly polls as Congress leader Jitin Prasada has on Wednesday joined the rival BJP in Delhi after meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Prasada, who was a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, has pushed the grand old party into trouble and to add defections.  

Jitin Prasada was a Congress bighead in Uttar Pradesh and he has joined the BJP when the state is gearing up for the assembly polls in which the Congress party should establish a citadel in the state to have a significant comeback. Jitin Prasada is the former Union Minister and enjoyed a close relationship with Rahul Gandhi. In a high-level drama, Prasada had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence on Wednesday morning. 

While it was speculated that he would be switching side to the Central ruling party, the meet had watered the speculations and drawn national attention with headlines covering the political bowl out at the capital. Prasada had also met with Union Minister Piyush Goyal and the back-to-back meetings had shocked the Congress party and strongly signalled that Prasada has developed a rival with his decades-long political shelter.

Earlier, BJP MP and spokesperson Anil Baluni had tweeted that an eminent personality will join the party today at 1 pm at the party headquarters in Delhi. As informed, Prasada had joined the BJP and after joining the saffron camp, he told the reporters that BJP is truly the only national party that worked in an institutional way, while others were all about a few people or confined to specific regions. 

He also has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership of the country and also lauded other senior party leaders. By citing that politics is for public service, Prasada said that he had realized he cannot do public service in Congress and could not protect people's interests. Prasada has roots with a well-known Brahmin family of Uttar Pradesh and he was serving as the Congress leader in charge of West Bengal. 

He has a stronghold in Uttar Pradesh and he could be pivotal for the party in the upcoming assembly polls. However, as he had joined BJP, the grand old party would inevitably face challenges and complications in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls and the political observers say that Prasada's spotlight was dimming as the sequel of the party's decline in the state and his decision to join BJP may help him to have a political comeback as the saffron party is working hard for the assembly polls. 

Prasada's joining would also help BJP to retain the votes from the Brahmin community, a section of whom are said to be in displeasure with the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. There were talks in 2019 that Prasada would be joining the BJP during the Lok Sabha polls. However, the Congress leadership had intervened and took efforts to save Prasada from quitting the party.

The same efforts had failed after two years as Jitin Prasada had finally joined the BJP. He joined the Central ruling party in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal. Prasada further said, "I would like to thank the Prime Minister, Home Minister, JP Nadda, and other party leaders to give me this opportunity to work. This is a new chapter of my political career. This decision of mine has come after much deliberation. BJP is the only party that is working for national building."

Jitin Prasada was among the G-23 leaders that demanded a free and fair organizational election in the Congress last year. Jitin Prasada is the son of Jitendra Prasada, a noted Congress leader. 47-year-old Jitin Prasada became Secretary in the Indian Youth Congress in 2001 for the first time. In 2004, he won in the Lok Sabha polls from his home turf Shahjahanpur and he was appointed as the Union Minister of State for Steel in 2008. 

In 2009, Prasada had contested in the 15th Lok Sabha polls from Dhaurahara and won by 1,84,509 votes. He was the Union Minister of  State in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways from 2009 to 2011, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas from January 2011 to October 2012, and Ministry of Human Resource Development from October 2012 to May 2014. During his tenure at the Center, Prasada had developed a close relationship with the national leaders including Rahul Gandhi. 

Prasada had lost the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls and 2017 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh. Prasada's exit from Congress has become the second high-profile Rahul Gandhi's aide to defect to the BJP since Jyotiraditya Scindia, who divorced from the party last year which had collapsed the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. According to reports close to the developments, BJP has assured Prasada a ticket to contest in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls in 2022 and he may play a significant role at the national level of the party in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.