Having ended her 32-year-long association with BJP, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla on Thursday joined Congress and slammed Narendra Modi saying his promise of serving the country is nothing but “plain dishonesty”.

Hitting out at Mr. Modi, Ms. Shukla said the BJP has declared such a person its prime ministerial candidate “who did not fulfill the duty of a husband or raj dharma when he was chief minister. If such a person talks about discharging rashtradharma, I will call it plain dishonesty”.

Welcoming her into party fold, AICC general secretary in-charge Janardan Dwivedi said her joining Congress has symbolical value as “Karuna Shukla, who was brought up imbibing the value system of a person, who had immense contribution in the making of BJP has severed ties from that party because of bad culture that came there in recent years.

“The event has a bigger dimension for us as leaving that culture; she is joining Congress making an exit from one particular value system to the other.”

The 63-year-old Ms. Shukla, who became MLA from BJP first in 1993 and was one of the senior leaders in Chhattisgarh, was unhappy over being sidelined in the party and had openly criticised the BJP leadership including Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on many occasions in recent past.

A former MP from Janjgir constituency of Chhattisgarh, she had lost the 2009 elections from Korba to Charan Das Mahant of Congress.

She resigned from BJP on October 25 last year alleging that the party was “under the grip of power politics”.

There was a speculation about her joining Congress when Ms. Shukla met Congress president Sonia Gandhi recently.

Ms. Shukla’s joining Congress was announced by the party with much fanfare with senior Congress leaders Dwivedi, Motialal Vora, B K Hariprasad, Ajit Jogi, Chhattisgarh PCC chief Bhupesh Baghel and CLP leader T.S. Singh Dev accompanying her at a press conference at the AICC headquarters.

She was one of the national vice presidents of the BJP as well as the former national president of the BJP Mahila Morcha besides holding other posts in the party in past.

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