Jitin Prasad in BJP: Another Message for Congress
Jitin Prasada was just waiting for this. He was about to leave the Congress before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had convinced him then.
His joining the BJP is going to boost the morale of the party. Will the BJP’s prospects in Uttar Pradesh be strengthened with Jitin Prasada’s arrival or whether Brahmins, who are troubled by the Thakur-dominated Yogi government, will now vote for the BJP in large numbers, is a different matter.
But the BJP has got a psychological advantage from this incident. Jitin Prasada has left Congress at a time when the BJP is furious with the defeat in West Bengal.
Those who joined BJP from Trinamool Congress are returning to Trinamool. At the time of writing these lines, there is speculation about Mukul Roy. It is being said that he can return home.
Yogi Adityanath has welcomed the arrival of Jitin Prasada.
He will be another Brahmin ‘Chehra’ to compete with AK Sharma. A bureaucrat-turned-politician and sent to Uttar Pradesh, Sharma is a trusted confidant of the Prime Minister and is expected to play a key role in the Yogi government.
He has been made a member of the Legislative Council and is looking after the affairs of Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of the Prime Minister.
There was speculation at one time that Sharma might be made the Deputy Chief Minister and given the responsibility of the Home Ministry.
But it seems that Chief Minister Yogi has put a stop to this. There is no possibility of a cabinet reshuffle in Lucknow at present. The BJP leadership has also ruled out the possibility of a change in leadership in the state.
But the chief minister is on target. Jitin Prasada has joined BJP at a time when Yogi’s position is not strong. There has been a big mistake due to not ordering the vaccines on time.
There has been widespread criticism of Uttar Pradesh’s inability to handle the second wave and party members have expressed displeasure over the damage done to the BJP’s image.
The continued decline of Congress is no secret. The old leaders who have three, four or five years of political life left, will stay there. Some of them will even be able to get a Rajya Sabha seat.
But young leaders who have a political career of twenty-thirty years in front of them believe that there is no future in Congress. This shows the extent to which Jitin Prasad and people like him can feel hopeless today.
It is not that all Congressmen who left Congress and joined BJP (except Hemant Biswa Sarma, who got the crown of Assam) get what they want. Jyotiraditya Scindia, who joined the BJP fifteen months ago, is yet to find the place in the cabinet that he was hoping for.
Under the agreement that Jitin Prasad has with the BJP, he can contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections next year. Jitin Prasad, who lost the election from Congress, may win the election on the strength of the organizational strength of the BJP.
Even if he did not win, he would have guessed that the risk of an uncertain future in the BJP is far better than that of being politically extinct in Congress. His exit also shows that Congress is not progressing in Uttar Pradesh.
The Uttar Pradesh election will likely be a quadrangular contest.
BJP is not in power in big states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. If it loses in Uttar Pradesh, and if Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Kerala are added to it, it will be out of power in states with more than 250 Lok Sabha seats.
That is why she would not want to let Uttar Pradesh go by her hand. Mayawati is likely to contest alone and BJP’s seats are reduced, then she may consider supporting BJP later.
There has already been an agreement between SP and RLD and they may take some smaller parties along.
But Akhilesh Yadav does not seem to be in a mood to ally with Congress as in 2017.
He will calculate that Muslim voters will be attracted to him as the main challenger to the BJP rather than dividing them, as it happened with the Trinamool in West Bengal.
The SP has performed well in the recent Panchayat elections.
The passing of Jitin Prasada also speaks about the Congress’ own thinking, from which young leaders are moving out. In fact, Congress has agreed that it can return to power only in the absence of the BJP.
This will happen only when people are really angry with the BJP. Today there will be many people who are unhappy with BJP, but they say, ‘Why can’t there be any other face in Congress?’
But that is not likely to happen. On Jitin Prasada’s exit, some Congressmen reacted like ‘garbage is thrown in the dustbin’ or ‘opportunistic’.
That is, such thinking has been created that whoever wants to leave the party can leave. Only those who will accept the leadership of Rahul Gandhi can remain. Sachin Pilot has not left the party yet.
He worked very hard for five years to revive the party in Rajasthan and some promises were made to him which were not honoured. He gave more to the party than he got from the party.
If the party’s message is to wait indefinitely to fulfil promises, which youth would want to work harder?
Jitin Prasad, of course, chose green pasture. But the Congress should not forget the real message of Jitin’s exit that many young leaders today do not see the future in Congress.
And that his last hopes, which he had set for reforms in the party, are now being tarnished.