Jitin Prasada, UP Brahmin & Ex-Congressman, Now a Cabinet Minister in Yogi Govt: All You Need to Know

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Ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the Council of Ministers headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was expanded on Sunday evening. Some new ministers took oath in the presence of Governor Anandi Ben Patel at the Gandhi auditorium in Raj Bhavan in Lucknow. A popular Brahmin face Jitin Prasada, who switched over to the BJP from the Congress, was also sworn in as a minister in the UP government.

Sources in the BJP had told News18 earlier that Prasada may be asked to contest UP assembly polls in 2022 and then may play a role in Lok Sabha elections in 2024.

POLITICAL CAREER

In 2001, Prasada started his career with Congress’s youth wing as a general secretary. In 2004, he won his first election and was elected an MP in the Lok Sahbha from his hometown constituency of Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur.

In his first tenure as an MP, he was inducted as a Union Minister of State for Steel and was one of the youngest minister in the former prime minister Manmohan Singh-led cabinet. In 2009, he contested and won the election from Dhaurara, as his home bastion Shahjahanpur came under the delimitation process.

Prasada’s promise of getting the Meter gauge railway track of the district Lakhimpur Kheri converted to Broad gauge brought major support for his candidature during 2009 general elections. He has laid down foundation stone of a steel factory in his constituency Dhaurahra (Lok Sabha constituency) during his tenure as the Union minister in 2008.

For the 14th Lok Sabha, he held the positions for Committee on Petitions (Member); Committee on Information Technology and Communications (Member); Consultative Committee, Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Steel.

He was appointed as in-Charge for West Bengal for Congress, ahead of 2021. However, Prasada joined the BJP on June 9, 2021.

Differences With Congress

Prasada was also a part of the G-23 group in the Congress that had written a letter registering its dissent with the party leadership.

Considered close to Rahul Gandhi, Prasada in 2019 rubbished rumours of being upset with the Congress leadership and switching over to BJP. He was the second leader close to Gandhi after Jyotiraditya Scindia to switch over to the BJP.

Prasada was targeted internally after being part of the group which wrote a letter questioning the leadership of Gandhis in the Congress party. The party’s unit in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri had even passed a resolution demanding his expulsion. Sources had also revealed that Prasada was not happy with being denied the post of UPCC chief, which was given to Ajay Kumar Lallu.

Prasada was also in the news during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when Priyanka Gandhi wanted to field a Brahmin face from state capital Lucknow against BJP’s Rajnath Singh. However, sources suggest that then Prasada was hesitant in contesting against Singh as he knew it would be difficult to defeat the BJP stalwart on his home turf. Ultimately, Prasada contested from Dhaurahra seat and faced a second consecutive loss in 2019.

FUTURE PLANS IN BJP

Just few months ahead of the crucial UP assembly elections and Yogi Adityanath-led government increasingly being under attack on the issue of alleged Brahmin discontent, Prasada will clearly be used as ‘big Brahmin’ face in the state, where politics is so defined by the castes. Prasada’s saffron avatar also goes on to counter the negative perception that was probably built on the issue of governance during the deadly second wave of coronavirus pandemic, when government has come under immense criticism over large number of deaths, oxygen crises and crippled medical support system.

After joining the BJP in Delhi, Prasada had told the media that “politics is about serving the people you work for and at the moment the only party through which you can do so is the BJP.” No doubt there is an important role carved out for the young leader in BJP’s scheme of things and that too in upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

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