Congress may face setback in the upcoming crucial UP elections with former state president and MLA Rita Bahuguna Joshi likely to join Bharatiya Janata Party.
According to sources close to Rita Bahuguna Joshi, she is disappointed with appointment of ex Delhi CM Sheila Dixit as Congress CM candidate. Elections to the state assembly are to be held early next year, and Congress has this time around projected former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, another Brahmin leader, as CM candidate.
Though both her brother, Vijay Bahuguana and the BJP have feigned ignorance about the possibility of her joining the party, those in the know claim that negotiations with the BJP top brass are currently underway and it is just a matter of days before she is formally inducted into the party.
Her position in the Congress party had come under a cloud ever since her brother and former Uttrakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna decided to defect to the BJP, with 9 MLA’s including his son, Saket Bhuguna. Ever since, she has found herself sidelined within the Congress.
Ironically, before Vijay joined BJP, the Congress high command in Uttarakhand had asked Rita to persuade her elder brother Vijay Bahuguna not to align with the opposition BJP and return home with dignity, PTI had reported.
Congress had believed that Rita would succeed in dissuading her brother from taking a confrontationist course with his own government.
Rita Bahuguna Joshi had led the party in the previous UP Assembly polls in which the Congress had performed poorly. The party has projected Sheila Dikshit as its CM candidate for the upcoming polls.
One other important reason that appears to have motivated her to think in terms of changing her party is the fact that Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law will also contest the 2017 Assembly polls from Lucknow. She was keen on changing her constituency but the party did not accede to her request.
Daughter of former Congress stalwart and UP CM Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, Rita joined active politics when she was nominated by SP as its mayor candidate from Allahabad. She won that election but later quit SP to join Congress.