Ten days after leaving the Congress and joining the BJP, former Union Minister Jitin Prasada today met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow. He said they discussed issues related to strengthening the organisation and the future of the government's various welfare schemes.
"As you know, I got the opportunity to join the BJP under the guidance and leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party national President Nadda ji, and the Home Minister. This is my first visit to my home state. I took the Chief Minister's blessings," Mr Prasada told ANI after the meeting.
"We discussed the future of welfare schemes, how to strengthen the party organisation, and how to take the party's message to the people," he said.
On June 9, Mr Prasada joined the BJP. The move has been perceived as an attempt by the party to shore up its caste arithmetic for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections scheduled for early next year, PTI reported.
The 47-year-old, a minister in the previous UPA government, comes from a well-known Brahmin family of the state. He was serving as the Congress's leader in-charge of West Bengal till recently.
His father, the late Jitendra Prasada, was a key Congress leader whose fortunes plunged following his decision to contest against Sonia Gandhi for the post of party president in 2000. He passed away in 2001.
The younger Mr Prasada was part of the group of 23 leaders who had last October written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi seeking organisational overhaul and elections at all levels, triggering a storm in the party.
His joining the party would help the BJP keep the Brahmin community, a section of which is said to be unhappy with it, in good humour.
Mr Prasada today said his decision was based on the "people's wishes" and claimed "heavy enthusiasm" among them for it.
"The BJP is the country's sole party where workers are encouraged and based on their performances they are given opportunities. I consider myself fortunate to be part of it," he told ANI.
Speculation was rife even during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections of Prasada joining the BJP, but it is believed that the Congress leadership had then managed to persuade him against quitting the party, PTI reported.