Congress veteran Rita Bahuguna Joshi joins BJP, attacks Rahul Gandhi

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Former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the crucial state elections due early 2017. On Monday, the Congress party had denied rumours that the 67-year-old Lucknow Cantonment legislator would follow her brother, former party leader and ex-Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, to the BJP.
“I served Congress for 24 years, have taken decision to join BJP for benefit of nation,” Joshi said.
She attacked poll strategist Prashant Kishor, saying he “can be a poll manager but not the poll director”. “We (Congress leaders) found out where to go, what to say only a night before,” she said.
Hailing the army’s September 29 surgical strikes across the Line of Control, she said it was a “big accomplishment of the government along with that of the army”.
“People have rejected Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. Only BJP, PM Modi can help the country,” Joshi added.
Bahuguna, daughter of former chief minister late Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, was said to be unhappy with the party’s choice of Sheila Dikshit, the former Delhi CM, as the chief ministerial candidate. She also felt marginalised after Raj Babbar was named the state chief.
She believes she has better credentials to be projected as a Brahmin chief ministerial face than Dikshit.
The development comes at a time when the Congress is trying to revive its fortunes in the country’s most populous state where it has been out of power for 27 years and has been reduced to a bit player by regional parties.
Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi recently concluded a month-long tour of the state to win over farmers, who form a sizable chunk of the electorate and are battling
mounting debts.

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