Udit Raj, denied a ticket by his party BJP to contest the national election from Delhi, surfaced within a day alongside Congress president Rahul Gandhi in a photo tweeted by the Congress, along with the message that he had joined the party.
"Congress President @RahulGandhi welcomes Shri Udit Raj into the Congress party," the party tweeted.
Udit Raj, a former Indian Revenue Service officer who is among the top campaigners of Dalit rights in the country, told reporters: "I always opposed the BJP's policies."
The speed at which Udit Raj switched parties reflected in the prefix "Chowkidar" still on his Twitter handle - the hallmark of every BJP account including Prime Minister Narendra Modi's - at the time the Congress tweeted.
By the time he address his first press conference at the Congress headquarters, "Chowkidar" was gone.
"One thing is clear now, the BJP is anti-Dalit. My fault was that I wasn't deaf and mute. If anybody is deaf and mute in this party, he can even become the PM," Udit Raj railed.
The BJP dropped Udit Raj as a candidate and replaced him with singer-politician Hans Raj Hans in the North West Delhi constituency yesterday, keeping this announcement for the last after naming most other candidates.
Udit Raj, a Dalit activist, had won from the seat in 2014.
Sensing that he was about to be dumped, he said on Tuesday morning, in a pinned tweet, that he was ready to quit. "I am waiting for ticket if not given to me I will do good bye to party," he tweeted. "I still hopeful that I will file nomination from my constituency and BJP where I have worked hard and proved my metal. I hope I will not be forced to leave BJP by BJP itself."
Later, he told NDTV: "Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal had warned me."
Udit Raj merged his Indian Justice Party with the BJP in February 2014, just before the election in which the party swept to power. All seven BJP candidates in Delhi won, including Udit Raj.
The upset leader told NDTV he regretted joining the BJP. "I regret merging my party with the BJP, only to be treated like this now. "Rahul Gandhi had met me in parliament and said I am the right person in the wrong party. (Aam Aadmi Party chief) Arvind Kejriwal called me this morning and reminded me of our conversations four months ago and had warned I won't be given a ticket. I regret having not listened to all of them," Mr Raj said.
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