Earlier today, Congress leader Jitin Prasada left his party and joined the BJP at the party headquarters in New Delhi. Prasada, who is the former union minister and Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh, paid a visit to Union Minister Piyush Goyal, and from there both of them went to meet home minister Amit Shah before going to the BJP headquarters. The development comes ahead of the Uttar Pradesh State Legislative elections that are scheduled to be held next year.
Before joining the BJP, Jitin Prasada has been a lifelong Congress member. He is the son of late Congress leader Jitendra Prasada, who served as the vice-president of the Indian National Congress and was also the political advisor to two prime ministers of India, Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and PV Narasimha Rao in 1994.
A longstanding Congress supporter, Jitendra Prasada breathed his last on 16 January 2001 after he suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage. However, there is an interesting backstory behind the unfortunate demise of Jitendra Prasad.
Jitendra Prasad fought and lost the election for the post of party presidentship against Sonia Gandhi
Back in 1999, rebellion against Sonia Gandhi was brewing as senior party members, including Sharad Pawar, PA Sangma and Tariq Anwar openly spoke against her and asserted that the widow of Rajiv Gandhi did not have what it takes to become the Prime Minister of the country, primarily on account of inexperience and her Italian nationality.
This faction, which was openly challenging Sonia Gandhi’s control over the Congress party, was promptly shown the door. In their absence, the mantle of opposing Sonia Gandhi’s hegemony over the Congress party was challenged by two individuals, Rajesh Pilot and Jitendra Prasada, both of whom were struggling to make their mark in the party that promoted nepotism and stifled merit.
Soon after they had begun the campaign to yank the control of the party from Sonia’s grip, Pilot died in a car accident in the summer of 2000. This left Prasada alone, who ploughed along in his battle against Sonia Gandhi.
Prasada had confided in a journalist that Sonia Gandhi did not play “straight” in the elections
In November 2000, Prasada contested the party election for the presidentship against Sonia but was terribly defeated and outnumbered by the clique of Sonia supporters. Of the 7,542 votes that were polled, he could manage to garner a paltry 94.
Later, in an interaction with an India Today journalist in December 2000, Prasada split beans about her miserable defeat against Sonia Gandhi. At the sight of Sonia breezing in, Prasada reportedly said: “After giving me an innings defeat, my sight possibly makes her (Sonia) feel reassured. The match was fixed behind my back, but I don’t claim that I would have won if she’d played it straight.”
Two months after he was handed a severe pasting by Sonia Gandhi in the party elections, Prasada suffered a massive brain haemorrhage, and after being in a deep coma for days, he died on 16 January 2001.