Rebel UP Congress leader Aditi Singh – the MLA from the state’s Rae Bareli Sadar Assembly constituency – has joined the ruling BJP in Lucknow.
Rae Bareli is a Congress stronghold – Congress President Sonia Gandhi is the Lok Sabha MP from here – and it has voted for the party in every Lok Sabha election since 1980 (the exceptions were in 1996 and 1998, when the BJP’s Ashok Singh was elected).
Ms Singh’s father, Akhilesh Singh was a five-time MLA from this seat, was very close to the Gandhi family, and she was regularly photographed with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra whenever the latter visited Rae Bareli.
Aditi Singh had fallen out with the Congress in 2019, when she met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but did not cut ties with the party, formally, till now.
The Congress had petitioned the UP Assembly speaker to disqualify Ms Singh for anti-party activities but that did not happen.
Ms Singh ‘s switch comes months before elections in the politically key state, in which the BJP is bidding for re-election in the face of massive protests by farmers against the farm laws, as well as protests against skyrocketing prices of essential goods, like fuel and vegetables.
An increasingly vocal critic of the Congress and its leadership, Aditi Singh last week slammed senior leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for questioning the controversial farm laws.
“Priyanka Gandhi had a problem when bills were brought. She has a problem when the laws have been repealed. What does she want? She should say it clearly. She is only politicising the matter. She has now run out of issues to politicise,” Aditi Singh was quoted by news agency ANI.
“As far as Lakhimpur (where farmers were run over by a convoy allegedly driven by a Union Minister’s son) and other issues are concerned, Priyanka Gandhi always politicised it. CBI probe is underway in the Lakhimpur incident… Supreme Court is taking cognisance of it. If she doesn’t trust the institutions, I can’t understand whom does she trust?” she continued.
The ruling party will hope the induction of Aditi Singh will help flip the Congress bastion, which would be a hugely important result, should that happen.
With input from ANI