Sat, Dec 10, 2016 | updated 12:23 PM IST

Really sad to see Rita Bahuguna in company she now keeps: Khurshid

Updated: Oct 22, 2016 08:22 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct. 22 (ANI): Terming former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi's decision to join the BJP as "very saddening" and "very pathetic", senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Saturday said he had seen Joshi in better company in the past and it was very saddening and pathetic to see her in the company that she now keeps.

"I have seen Rita Bahuguna in better company in the past, I feel sorry for her. It's really is very saddening and very pathetic to see her in the company that she now keeps. But it's a choice," Khurshid told ANI.

"I feel sorry particularly because she held the office that I once held of the PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) president and, I think, that a party cannot give you any greater honour to any person from Uttar Pradesh than to make you the PCC president. I became the UPCC president after having spent a lifetime in the Congress. There are people who came in and in a few years became the PCC president. We accepted it, because the idea was to make our party grow, bring in as many effective people and make the party grow," he said.

Asserting that there was a historical connection that Joshi's family had with the Congress, Khurshid said: "Although there have been hiccups in the past as well, no one amongst us was unhappy that she was doing well in the party. And, I don't think that she can complain of a single thing that she hasn't got from the party, including exclusion of other very good leaders to create space for her."

When asked if senior leader like her joining the BJP would somewhere harm the Congress in the upcoming UP elections, he said: "I can claim some seniority myself; nobody is ever asking me, because I am not going away. Will that help the Congress? We all are a part of the party and all of us have whatever contribution we can make to the party. None of us is individually anything; we are something because we are part of a larger whole that from top to the bottom is a structure of our party, which has a history that we can be proud of."

Dealing a heavy blow to the Congress ahead of the crucial assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Thursday formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

She was welcomed to the party by BJP national president Amit Shah.

Today, I resigned from the Congress Party and joined the BJP. It was not an easy decision to take, but I took it for the betterment of the nation and the state after a long consideration. My political career has been of 27 years thus far, of which I spent 24 years with the Congress Party and for 10 months with the Samajwadi Party. I worked for the Congress with full dedication and honesty for 24 years," she said while addressing journalists after joining the BJP at its headquarters here.

"I am unhappy with incidents that took place in the past few days. Our country is struggling with terrorism and in this direction the Narendra Modi government took a very decisive decision when he gave a freehand to the India Army to cross the Line of Control (LoC), which included the will to accept any results that would have emerged out of the surgical strike, though the result was good," she said.

"This happened for the first time and the success that we got was not only an achievement for the army but also for the government. When the whole world accepted that we carried out surgical strikes, I didn't like the way the Congress and other parties questioned it. Words like 'Khoon ki dalali' were used that saddened me," Joshi added.

"Prashant Kishor could be a poll manager, but he certainly is not the poll director. But, unfortunately, the entire direction and leadership of the election has been given into his hands. How long we have to walk, when we will stand and sit, all these things were told to us a day before, despite the fact that leaders are grass-roots workers. Nothing could be more unfortunate than handing over the party on contract (to Prashant Kishor)," she said, adding that even senior leaders of the Congress are unable to put across their point in the party.

"Sonia Gandhi understands the organisation; she used to listen to us irrespective of whatever decision she took; but, in the leadership of Rahulji even this is not possible (to get your point across). The people of Uttar Pradesh are not ready to accept his leadership so as the whole country. Even senior Congress leaders are not happy with him. However, the fact is that Rahul Gandhi was unable to provide the kind of leadership that a national party like the Congress needs. The people have rejected his leadership," she alleged, adding that only the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi could bring about development in Uttar Pradesh. (ANI)