Ex-Minister Krishna Tirath joins BJP

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:03 am IST

Published - January 19, 2015 01:56 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Former Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath. File photo.

Former Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath. File photo.

Hours before the meeting of the BJP Central Election Committee and Parliamentary Board on Monday former UPA Minister Krishna Tirath met BJP president Amit Shah at his residence. She is expected to formally join the party later in the day.”My role in the party is yet to be decided,” she said after her meeting with Mr. Shah.

Apparently unaware of his party member joining the BJP, Congress leader and campaign committee chief Ajay Maken said “this reveals BJP’s nervousness.”

Ms. Tirath is the fourth Delhi leader to join the BJP in the last four days after Kiran Bedi, Shazia Ilmi and Vinod Kumar Binny (both former Aam Aadmi Party members).

Chaired by Mr. Shah, the BJP CEC will clear the names of candidates for the 70-member Delhi Assembly elections on February 7. The Board may take a view on projecting Ms. Bedi as a chief ministerial candidate.

Of interest will be the seat from where Ms. Bedi will contest. She has been positioned as the party’s ``face’’ in the elections but there is division within the Delhi BJP on her elevation in the party and whether she should be projected as the chief ministerial candidate.

So far the BJP has not declared chief ministerial face in any of the recently-held Assembly elections including in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand or Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been the face and has led the campaign everywhere.

But in Delhi, faced with a stiff challenge from the AAP, the party seems to be changing tack. BJP and Akali Dal together had won 32 seats in the Delhi elections held in 2013 while the AAP had got 28 seats and the Congress finished a poor third with eight seats.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal had formed the government with outside support from the Congress but he resigned after 49 days for lack of support to the Lokpal Bill in the Assembly leading to President’s rule in Delhi.

Tirath, the third prominent Delhi leader to join BJP

Former UPA Minister Krishna Tirath, who joined the BJP on Monday, is the third prominent Delhi leader to join the BJP in the last four days after Kiran Bedi and Shazia Ilmi (formerly with the Aam Aadmi Party).

A Dalit leader, Ms. Tirath had been with the Congress since 1984 and served in the Delhi and Central governments.

Congress leader Ajay Maken accused the ruling party of “importing leaders in desperation” ahead of the February 7 poll. Reports of Ms. Tirath meeting BJP chief Amit Shah ahead of formally joining the party reached the AICC headquarters when Mr. Maken was releasing a booklet criticising the Aam Aadmi Party.

Asked about her role in the BJP, Ms. Tirath said the party chief would decide, adding, “My role will be towards public service.”

The Aam Aadmi Party has a strong support base amongst Dalits and slum dwellers which the BJP is trying hard to crack. The new party had won a majority of the 12 reserved seats in Delhi out of a total of 70 in 2013. One-third of Delhi’s population is estimated to comprise Dalits and Muslims.

Joining the party in the presence of party prabhari for Delhi, Prabhat Jha, national secretary R. N. Singh, North-West MP Udit Raj and Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhaya, Ms. Tirath said she identified with BJP’s idea of a Congress-mukta Bharat (Congress-free India) and would dedicate herself to the uplift of women, children and youth.

Ms. Tirath’s decision to switch loyalties became clear when she met Mr. Amit Shah at his residence earlier in the day.

“It is a question of ideology. I met Mr. Shah to serve the people.... I have come with this aim,” she said without revealing if she or any of her family members would contest elections.

Ms. Tirath was a member of the Delhi Legislative Assembly between 1984-2004 and MP from North West Delhi constituency from 2004 till 2014.

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