All India Congress Committee’s national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi on Friday quit the Congress and joined the Shiv Sena in Mumbai.
Chaturvedi, a first-generation politician from a middle-class family originally from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, announced her decision at a press conference at Matoshri, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s residence here in Mumbai.
Chaturvedi said she was hurt by the “misbehaviour" of some Congress party office-bearers with her some time back and that she had pointed that out to the “party high-command". She denied that she had left the Congress because she was denied a Lok Sabha ticket. “I was seeking a ticket, I was hopeful. But I was absolutely sure that if that ticket did not come my way, that would not lead to bitterness. That’s not the reason I left," she said answering a question.
To another question, Chaturvedi said she had never even asked for a ticket from Mathura, though her family came from there.
Welcoming Chaturvedi into the party, Thackeray said the former Congress spokesperson would be given responsibilities in the Shiv Sena according to her “talent, intelligence, and capabilities".
Asked if there was a big “change of heart" involved in her leaving the Congress and joining a political organisation that was diametrically opposite to the Congress ideology, Chaturvedi said no “change of heart" was required.
“Every Maharashtrian is associated with Shiv Sena. I have been associated with Shiv Sena since my childhood since I was born into this city and Mumbai has been my janmabhoomi and karmabhoomi. There was no man parivartan (change of heart) required," she said.
Earlier on Friday, Chaturvedi sent a two-page letter to Congress president Rahul Gandhi resigning all organisational posts of the party and also the primary membership. She also promptly changed her profile on her Twitter handle from "Congress spokesperson" to "columnist". Two days back, she caused a political flutter when she tweeted her anguish over "lumpen goons getting preference in Congress over those who have given their sweat and blood".
The letter, which Chaturvedi shared on her twitter handle, says that “in the last few weeks, certain things have convinced me that my services are not valued in the organisation and that I have reached the end of the road." The letter adds that “what saddens me is that despite the safety, dignity, empowerment of women being promoted by the party and has been your call to action, the same is not reflected in the action of some of the members of the party."
Chaturvedi said she entered the public space soon after the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai when she felt like doing something for the city where she was born and accepted.
“I am a middle-class person and felt strongly about Mumbai like many of those middle-class people. Mumbai has been a city of free city and famous for the safety it provides to women. I joined the Congress for the same liberal spirit and with a desire to bring dignity to women and put forth the ideas of women and youth empowerment at the political level," she said.
She added that she gave ten years of her life to the Congress party “at a great personal cost" and without “any demands". “I thought of no other organisation than Shiv Sena to carry forward my fight for Mumbai, for women, and for youth," she said.
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