In another relatively high profile defection, former minister of state Krishna Tirath has joined the BJP just weeks ahead of the Delhi polls.
The former MP from the North West Delhi constituency today joined the party after meeting with BJP party chief Amit Shah and other party leaders.
Tirath, who was union minister of state for women and child development during the UPA-II government, said she had joined the BJP in order to serve the people.
"My ideology will remain social service," Tirath said after the meeting.
She said that the role she was expected to play in the party would be decided by Shah, but reiterated that she would continue to work for people.
While the former minister had lost in the North West Delhi seat in the 2014 polls, according to television reports, she had been seeking a ticket for the upcoming Delhi Assembly election for one of her daughters.
Tirath's joining BJP is viewed as an attempt by the party to woo dalit voters in the national capital. Shah too had started his poll campaign by addressing a
Tirath, who was a member of the Delhi Legislative Assembly between 1984–2004 and the North West Delhi MP from 2004 till 2014.
Delhi has 12 reserved seats of which a majority were won by the AAP in the last assembly polls in 2013, with BJP winning only two while Congress got one.
Tirath was earlier a member of the Delhi Assembly and a Minister in the Shiela Dikshit-led Delhi government having portfolios of Social Welfare, SC & ST and Labour & Employment.
She has been a former Deputy Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly and a former Chairperson of Delhi Scheduled Castes Financial and Development Corporation (DSFDC). Tirath was the North West Delhi MP since 2004 and has been Minister of State (Independent Charge) Women and Child Development in the previous UPA government.
The former legislator's move to the BJP caught the Congress wrong footed and Delhi poll campaign chief Ajay Maken, who was addressing a press conference at the time the news broke, admitted that he had little knowledge about her having switched sides. It didn't stop him from making a statement anyway.
"It shows how worried the BJP is and how little faith they have in their own leaders," Maken told reporters.
The BJP poaching leaders from other parties only showed how hollow the party had become, he said.
Tirath becomes one of many other party leaders who have joined the BJP ahead of the Delhi assembly election. Former IPS official-turned-activist Kiran Bedi, former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi, former AAP MLA Vinod Kumar Binny are among the most prominent names to have joined the BJP in the last week and are likely to contest the polls.
The BJP is widely expected to release its list of 70 candidates after the parliamentary board meeting today.
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Updated Date: Jan 19, 2015 15:40:49 IST