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BJP MP Kirti Azad joins Congress, flays Modi for ‘jumlas’

Feb 18, 2019

New Delhi: Cricketer-turned-politician and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad joined the Congress here on Monday and flayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making what he said were false promises and said there was no internal democracy in the BJP.

Azad, who represents Darbhanga in Bihar in the Lok Sabha, was formally inducted into the party in the presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi. He was to join the Congress on February 15 but the event was postponed following the suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir.

A three-time MP, Azad was suspended from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2015 for alleging “corruption” in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), then headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Addressing the media at the Congress headquarters, Azad launched a scathing attack on Modi and said that under the current leadership there was no internal democracy in the BJP.

Describing his joining Congress as “gharwapsi” (homecoming), Azad said ever since the Modi government came to power, the “faces behind the mask started to come out”.

“I started repenting about being in BJP. I felt being politically orphaned and decided to make my way back to home (Congress),” said the son of late Congress leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Bhagwat Jha Azad.

“There is no internal democracy left in the BJP. Just by getting members through social media doesn’t make it the largest party,” he said.

“The only thing I heard in the last five years were ‘jumla’ (false promises),” said Azad and ridiculed Modi over his assertion that he was fighting corruption.

Azad said that when he raised the “Rs 400 crore scam in the DDCA” with 400 pages of documents to back his claims, “I was back-stabbed by the party.”

“What happened to Modi’s calls of ‘na khaunga, na khane dunga’ (I won’t indulge in corruption nor allow anyone to do so). I realised that too was a jumla.”

He also targeted Modi over the Pulwama terror attack, reminding the Prime Minister of his rhetoric of bringing “10 (Pakistani) heads for one” Indian soldier killed.

“Wherever I go, people ask me what happened to the black money which Modi promised to bring back, youth ask me what happened to the 2 crore jobs which Modi promised to give every year. And I have no answers,” he said.

He called the Rafale issue the country’s “biggest defence scam”. “Rafale is a big issue and even BJP MPs feel there is a scam.”

Remaining evasive about the possibility of contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Azad said he will be happy with whatever responsibility the party assigns him.

An aggressive batsman, Azad was part of India’s 1983 World Cup winning team. Making his foray into politics he was elected to the Delhi Assembly as a BJP member from Delhi’s Gole Market constituency in 1993.

He contested the 1999 Lok Sabha polls and won from Darbhanga in Bihar, a seat which he won in 2009 and 2014 too.

Following his suspension by the BJP, there was speculation that he may join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), especially after his wife Poonam Azad joined it in 2016. In April 2017, Poonam joined the Congress.

IANS