A disillusioned Jitin Prasada, former Union minister of state and scion of a once-powerful political Congress family in Uttar Pradesh, has left the party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). For some months now, Prasada had confided to friends that he felt he was prevented in his personal and political growth by the Congress which sent him to oversee the organisational management of the West Bengal unit ahead of the Assembly elections, just when he was in the middle of his Brahmin Chetna Yatras in Uttar Pradesh.
He gave vent to his frustration when at his maiden press conference as a member of the BJP, he said he felt let down by the Congress. “I felt that what is the relevance of staying in a party if you can’t protect interests of your people or work for them. I felt I was unable to do that at Congress,” he said.
However, many Congressmen are asking what he contributed to the party which gave him all his major political breaks and made him a minister. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections Prasada contested from Dhaurahra Lok Sabha constituency. BJP’s Rekha Verma won the seat by a margin of 160,000 votes. Prasada could not manage to win one sixth of the total votes cast in the election and forfeited his deposit.
The BJP sees value in Prasada as a means to get Brahmins to return to the party. For some time now, the caste which had a natural propensity for the BJP, has been feeling uncomfortable by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s promotion of Thakurs in the bureaucracy, police and political positions.
However, with Prasada’s entry, UP’s deputy chief minister, Dinesh Sharma and new entrant, bureaucrat turned politician AK Sharma will have a caste rival. Prasada expects to get a seat in the Rajya Sabha, but the BJP might expect him to first prove his antecedents by expecting him to contest as an MLA in the upcoming assembly elections in the state. Either way, the politics of UP might just have got more interesting.