Kirti Azad joins Congress; slams Modi

Kirti Azad, a Lok Sabha member from Darbhanga in Bihar, met Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who welcomed him into the party. (Twitter/KirtiAzad)

Suspended BJP leader Kirti Azad on Monday joined the Congress and slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for indulging in election rhetoric and silence on the Rafale fighter jet deal.

Azad, a Lok Sabha member from Darbhanga in Bihar, met Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who welcomed him into the party.

Azad, who has been with the BJP since he entered politics, termed his joining the Congress as “home-coming”.

“I am joining the party of which my father was a member,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

Azad's father Bhagwat Jha Azad was a freedom fighter and held several portfolios in the central government before becoming the chief minister of Bihar in 1988.

A cricketer-turned-politician, Azad was suspended from the BJP in 2015 for alleging “corruption” in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), then headed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley.

On Monday, he raised the issue once again and claimed he had 400 official papers to show that there was corruption in the DDCA.

He also flayed Modi over his statement, 'Na kahunga na khane doonga' (will not indulge in graft, neither will let others do so), saying the party that talked about fighting corruption “back stabbed” him on the DDCA issue.

Azad also claimed that the BJP leaders had met him recently saying let bygones be bygones and urging him to contests from Darbhanga as an internal survey projected him as the best bet from the seat for the Lok Sabha elections.

However, getting the Darbhanga seat could be difficult for Azad as RJD, the alliance partner of the Congress has made a strong claim for the seat. RJD leader M A A Fatmi had defeated Azad from the seat in 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

Azad said that he had joined the BJP in the 1990s in the aftermath of the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“I was inspired by the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani,” he said adding that he felt “politically orphaned” since the advent of Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

Azad, a member of the 1983 cricket world cup winning team, was to join the Congress on February 15, but had to be put off to Monday due to the killing of CRPF personnel in a suicide attack in Pulwama.

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Kirti Azad joins Congress; slams Modi

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