Congress leader and one-time United Progressive Alliance minister Jitin Prasada once again said on Saturday that reports that he is about to join the Bharatiya Janata Party are mere rumours.
Speculation on Prasada, a close friend of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, leaving the party for BJP began circulating on Friday. Several news channels had reported that he could be looking to join the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls as he was unhappy with the Congress. Times Now had reported that Prasada had even been seen heading to the BJP offices.
Prasada's name had been earlier doing the rounds for the post of Pradesh Congress Committee chief in Uttar Pradesh, but the post is still held by Raj Babbar.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, when asked on Friday to comment on media reports claiming Prasada's defection, said, "It's bullshit."
PTI reported sources as having revealed that some senior Congress leaders, including Uttar Pradesh West general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia, met Prasada on Friday afternoon in a bid to placate him and Prasada relented after senior party leader Ahmed Patel spoke to him later in the evening.
On Saturday, after an ANI reporter asked if he is in touch with the BJP, he said, "The rumour is on. How can I comment on rumours? These are all rumours."
On Friday, Prasada had called the question of him joining the BJP "hypothetical". He had said, "There should be some basis for such a question. Why should I answer a hypothetical question?"
In designating a change in his political trajectory as a "rumour," Prasada however did not clarify with certainty if he was considering leaving the Congress. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah asked why he could not issue a "categorical denial."
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 22, 2019
Prasada is the son of Congress veteran Jitendra Prasada who had unsuccessfully contested against Sonia Gandhi for the post of Congress president in 2000.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Mar 23, 2019 11:43:30 IST