Priyanka Chaturvedi, who sent her resignation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday evening, joined the Shiv Sena in the presence of its chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday.
Ms. Chaturvedi said for her it was a matter of self-respect and alleged that safety, dignity and empowerment of women promoted by the Congress was not reflected in the actions of some of its members.
“In my 10 years in politics, I have raised the issue of women’s safety and empowerment strongly, for which I suffered social media trolling and abuse. I was pained by the fact that some party members who made certain remarks about me were reinstated. It was forgotten that a woman like me dedicated 10 years without any greed or expecting returns. It was a matter of self-respect for me and I did not want to let down all those women for whom I spoke,” Ms. Chaturvedi said at a press conference she held along with Mr. Thackeray at the latter’s residence, Matoshree, in suburban Mumbai.
Mr. Thackeray said he welcomed Ms. Chaturvedi into the Shiv Sena family and said the party would give her an important responsibility keeping in mind her calibre and capability to work not only in Mumbai, but across the country.
“Deeply saddened that lumpen goons get prefence in @incindia over those who have given their sweat&blood. Having faced brickbats&abuse across board for the party but yet those who threatened me within the party getting away with not even a rap on their knuckles is unfortunate,” Ms. Chaturvedi tweeted on Wednesday. She has removed all the reference to the Congress from her Twitter bio.
Ms Chaturvedi was also upset over being passed over in allotment of party ticket to actor Urmila Matondkar for the Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency.
Ms. Chaturvedi, who hails from Mumbai, was seeking ticket from the Congress to contest the present general election either from Mumbai Nort-West or from Mumbai North. She was denied ticket and she had conveyed her displeasure. “Yes, I was hopeful of ticket as I wanted to raise raise several issues. It is not true that I was upset at the denial of ticket. It never caused any bitterness in my mind,” she said.
She claimed that she had spoken about her grievances to the Congress’s central leadership, but evaded a query whether the party leadership attempted to stop her from quitting.
Asked why she chose to join the Sena which is ideologically opposite to the Congress, Ms. Chaturvedi said being a citizen of Mumbai, she was always connected to the Sena. “When I decided to come back and work where my roots are, the only name that came to my mind was the Shiv Sena. I want to work for women, youth and children. No other platform is as big as this,” she said.
A matter of pain: Congress
Responding to Ms. Chaturvedi’s resignation, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Friday admitted that it was “a reflection on his leadership”.
“Every time a party member leaves, it’s a matter of pain for us. People look for career progression. We wish all of them well, including Priyanka Chaturvedi. I must frankly and on record concede, yes, it’s a reflection on my leadership,” Mr. Surjewala told reporters at the party headquarters.