New Delhi, June 15 : While the BJP's central leadership is upbeat over former Union Minister Jitin Prasada ditching the Congress to join it, party leaders in Uttar Pradesh believe that his inclusion will not benefit the party too much in next year's Assembly polls.
On June 9, Prasada joined the BJP in presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal. Welcoming him to the party, Goyal had said: "He will have a major role in Uttar Pradesh politics in the future. He is someone who is connected to the ground realities and is a popular leader in the state." However, a senior BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh asked how can a man, who lost three elections in his family bastion, help the BJP to win elections.
"His popularity can be judged on his electoral performance in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls and 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, which he lost. We have to see how a leader who was not able to retain his family bastion will help us." A section in Uttar Pradesh BJP feels that inducting Prasada is more about perception than electoral benefits.
"Central leadership and state leadership is completely aware about his real popularity or area of influence in the state. But before next year's Assembly election, his joining the BJP has sent a strong message among people that we are growing and it is also important ahead of polls," a party insider said.
They claim that Prasada is neither the face of the Brahmin community, as the Central leadership trying to establish, nor has mass appeal.
Another senior party leader said that the BJP has lots of Brahmin leaders who are more popular than Prasada and they are in key positions in the government and organisation.
A Lok Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh pointed out that there are over 50 MLAs and eight ministers in the state government from the Brahmin community and many are more popular and mass appeal than the former Union Minister.
"Answer to what the party benefits from him will be found in future or after Assembly polls next year. But Congress has suffered a loss. One thing is clear.. the BJP is growing under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and people are joining us which ultimately strengthens the party," he claimed.
Some of the prominent Brahmin faces of the BJP are Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, Brajesh Pathak, Ashutosh Tandon, Satish Dwivedi, Hriday Narayan, Laxmikant Bajpai, Mahendra Nath Pandey, and Ramapati Ram Tripathi.
Another senior party leader pointed out that it will take years to establish Prasada as a Brahmin face or leader of the state when there are already so many in the party.