Sitting Bharatiya Janata Party MP Udit Raj on Wednesday joined the Congress, reported ANI. This came a day after the BJP gave his North West Delhi seat to singer Hans Raj Hans.
Raj had threatened to quit the party if he was denied a BJP ticket this time. Tuesday was the last day to file nominations for all Delhi seats, which vote on May 12. The BJP held back its announcement for the North West Delhi seat until the very last day.
Before the BJP finalised its North West Delhi candidate, Raj had tweeted to say that he hoped he would be given a seat and that the party would not drive him out. Earlier, Raj’s supporters had protested outside the BJP office. He had said he was unable to speak to party chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his seat, though he had communicated with other senior party leaders.
“I am the best performer of the party among its Delhi MPs,” he had claimed. “Also, I am the only Dalit leader of the BJP who is known across the country. I don’t know why I am being treated like this. I am a disciplined BJP member, I am just asking for what is due to me.”
“I wanted to join the Congress since 2012-’13,” Raj claimed at a press conference with Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. “Rahul Gandhi knows about it.”
“The BJP claims they will do whatever the internal survey says,” he said. “Even at that time, my seat was the most popular. Still, they refused me a ticket. This was because on April 2, 2018, when the Dalit community held a Bharat bandh, I supported them. My mistake was that I was not deaf and dumb there. If I had been deaf and dumb, they would have made him prime minister too.”
The former BJP MP claimed that President Ram Nath Kovind wanted a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, but was denied one. Raj said the government ended the Congress’ scheme of giving 2,000 scholarships to Dalit students. He claimed that all the schemes launched by the BJP-led government were mere propaganda, and nothing had been implemented on the ground.
Raj alleged that recruitments of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for government jobs have been stopped. “I have spoken out against this in Parliament too,” he said. “I am not deaf and dumb. Otherwise I would have become another Kovind.”
He claimed that the BJP would have won only the Delhi North West constituency even if they had given him a ticket. “Now, we will try that they will not be able to open their account in Delhi,” he added.
Raj had merged his Indian Justice Party with the BJP, and contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from North West Delhi. “I merged my party in the BJP, crores of my supporters are worried over my ticket,” he said. “My name has not been declared from the North West Delhi seat yet. My supporters have decided to wait till 4 pm today [Tuesday].”