New Delhi: Once considered a key aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan on Thursday joined the BJP, amid speculation that he could contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from Kerala.
Wishing him luck, the Congress reminded its former leader that “till now he used to abuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Another leader to join the saffron fold on the same day over his party supremo’s comments on the Pulwama terror attack was TMC heavyweight and four-time MLA from West Bengal Arjun Singh.
Speculation is rife that BJD MP Balabhadra Majhi and former state minister Damodar Raut could also join the saffron fold soon.
In an apparent attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, Mr Vadakkan said he gave the party two decades of his life but it has now resorted to a practice of “use and throw.”
“I am deeply hurt and that is why I am here... The attack by Pakistan on our land and the reaction from my party was sad indeed..I left the party with a heavy heart. If a party is working against national interest, there is no other option but to leave it,” said the former Congress leader. He said dynastic politics has reached its zenith in the Congress and said that he believed in Mr Modi’s development narrative. He joined the saffron fold in the presence of Ravi Shankar Prasad and later met its president Amit Shah.
“I am deeply hurt and that is why I am here... The attack by Pakistan on our land and the reaction from my party was sad indeed..I left the party with a heavy heart. If a party is working against national interest, there is no other option but to leave it,” said the former Congress leader.
Reacting to Mr Vadakkan joining the saffron fold, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Our best wishes to him.”
Asked about Mr Vadakkan citing dynastic politics and the Congress’s stand on the Pulwama terror attack and India’s retaliatory strikes as his reasons for quitting the party, Mr Surjewala said every person who leaves a party to join another party “searching for a better future”, has to say something.
“Till now he used to abuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi, so what is the opinion of Modi ji and Ravi Shankar ji on that,” he said.
Joining the saffron fold in the presence of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and West Bengal BJP leader Mukul Roy, Mr Arjun Singh said, “I gave 30 years to Mamata Banerjee. I was shocked at her comments on the Pulwama terror attack. Her statement has shaken the country... When the Indian Air Force carried out the strike, she demanded the body count of terrorists. If a leader does not have the national interest in her mind, then she cannot do any good to her voters.”
Sources disclosed the four-time MLA from Barrackpore is likely to contest on a BJP ticket against TMC heavyweight Dinesh Trivedi and was miffed over the denial of a ticket by his former party.
“Earlier the TMC used to stand for Maa, Mati, Manush, now it is only money, money and money,” Mr Singh said attacking Ms Banerjee.