"Ask Congress Why": Ex Party Chief In Uttarakhand Joins BJP Before Polls

Uttarakhand Election: Kishore Upadhyay was earlier removed from all Congress posts.

'Ask Congress Why': Ex Party Chief In Uttarakhand Joins BJP Before Polls

Uttarakhand Polls: Kishore Upadhyay met Union Minister and BJP leader Pralhad Joshi earlier this month

New Delhi:

A former Uttarakhand Congress chief, expelled by the party yesterday, joined the BJP today just days before the February 14 election in the state. Kishore Upadhyay, expelled for "anti-party activities", is likely to contest the Uttarakhand polls as a BJP candidate.

"I have joined the BJP with the spirit of taking Uttarakhand forward. You should ask Congress why such a situation arose," Kishore Upadhyay said after joining the BJP today.

He also said, "Kishore will do something new now. Time has come to speak up."

Reports suggest the BJP will field him from Tehri, where he won in the 2002 and 2007 Uttarakhand polls.

Mr Upadhyay was earlier removed from all Congress posts. "Since you had been indulging in anti-party activities despite several warnings, so you are hereby expelled from the primary membership of Congress party for six years with immediate effect," said the Congress' letter to Mr Upadhyay.

In signs that he was thinking of changing parties, Mr Upadhyay had met with Union Minister Prahlad Joshi, the BJP's Uttarakhand election in-charge, earlier this month.

Mr Upadhyay, asked why he was expelled by the Congress, appeared to refer to the meeting. "A picture of myself with BJP went viral, which was represented in a different light," he said.

The newly-minted BJP recruit also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prahlad Joshi.

"I think Uttarakhand's development is only possible under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi and I want to work towards making Uttarakhand a better state. I am impressed with the work RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and BJP have done in Tehri and Uttarkashi. I am grateful to Prahlad Joshi for giving me this opportunity to be a part of the BJP," Mr Upadhyay said.

The Congress has been struggling with infighting in the hill state, with its top leader Harish Rawat posting tweets about feeling betrayed by his leadership and the lack of support within.

In the middle of its turmoil, the Congress welcomed back Harak Singh Rawat, who had once led a revolt against Harish Rawat. Harak Singh Rawat, who was a minister in the Uttarakhand government, was expelled by the BJP for anti-party activities.

Congress leader Devender Yadav said on Mr Upadhyay's expulsion that there was no place in the party for those who did not respect its values. "The esteem and dignity of the party is above all! There never was and there never will be any place for those who do not respect the basic integrity and value system of the majestic institution that is Congress," he tweeted.

Elections to the 70-seat Uttarakhand will take place next month, along with four other states. The results will be declared on March 19.

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