Dalit leader Udit Raj joins Cong

Dr Udit Raj with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. (Twitter/INCIndia)

Miffed at being denied a party ticket for the Lok Sabha elections, sitting BJP MP and prominent Dalit leader Udit Raj on Wednesday joined the Congress.

Hours after meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Udit Raj trained his guns on the BJP claiming that he had paid the price for being vocal within the BJP on Dalit issues and “not being submissive as the saffron party desires it members to be”.

“Ram Nath Kovind had come to me seeking a position in the party in May 2014. I did not find him fit enough. But he chose to remain silent and got rewarded. He was made the President. Had I remained silent, the BJP could have made me prime minister at some point of time,” Udit Raj told reporters at the AICC Headquarters here.

Udit Raj joins the long list of Dalit leaders and sitting BJP members of the Lok Sabha to have joined the Congress.

Earlier, BJP Lok Sabha members Savitribai Phule, Ashok Dohrey, Chhote Lal had joined the Congress.

As a BJP member, Udit Raj represented North West Delhi parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha.

However, BJP kept him waiting till the last minute for a re-nomination from the seat and fielded Punjabi Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans instead.

“I would have contested the seat had BJP given me the ticket. But, one thing has now become clear that the BJP is an anti-Dalit party,” said Udit Raj, adding that he was on joining the Congress in 2014 but “the situation was not right then”.

At the AICC Headquarters, Udit Raj was formally welcomed by Delhi Congress president and three-term Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

“He will prove to be an asset in Delhi. Because of his presence, we will win many seats in the national capital, which we wouldn't have other wise,” Sheila said.

Praising the Congress president, Udit Raj said: “Rahul Gandhi had called me earlier. He has a natural love for me. He told me that 'you are in wrong party'.”

On Tuesday, Udit Raj had threatened to “bid goodbye to the party (BJP)” if he was not given a ticket. He had merged his Indian Justice Party with the BJP in February 2014.

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