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UP polls: Big jolt for Congress as Rita Bahuguna Joshi joins BJP

Senior party leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi resigned from the Congress and her membership of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Thursday to join the BJP in the presence of party president Amit Shah.

Joshi's brother, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna is already a member of BJP and was made a part of the party's executive in the Allahabad meet of the party. Speculations were already rife last week that Joshi would be joining the BJP, but it was the last minute announcement on Thursday that confirmed the rumours.

Joshi said she was "hurt when the Indian National Congress questioned the surgical strikes by the Army across the Line of Control" and that it was not seemly for a party like the Congress to have done so. "I publicly expressed my displeasure on my Twitter account as well," while speaking to reporters in New Delhi.

She added that said she was also hurt by the importance accorded to poll strategist Prashant Kishore in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab Assembly polls. "A poll manager cannot replace a leader," she said adding that not just herself, "several senior party leaders were also upset that feedback from grass root leaders was being ignored."

"That the Congress should reach a stage where its election strategy is being sub-contracted to such managers says a lot of the state of the leadership," Joshi said.