Lucknow: Rebel Congress MLA from Rae Bareli Sadar, Aditi Singh, joined the BJP in Lucknow Wednesday. The daughter of late veteran Congress leader Akhilesh Singh, Aditi was first elected to the Uttar Pradesh assembly in 2017 on a Congress ticket.
Along with Aditi, rebel BSP MLA from Azamgarh district, Vandana Singh, also joined the BJP.
Aditi’s entry into the BJP is being seen as a boost to the party in the Gandhi family bastion ahead of the assembly elections early next year.
Since the past few months, Aditi has been a vocal critic of the Congress and has voiced support for the BJP on several occasions.
Last week, Aditi had called out Congress General Secretary in charge of UP, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, over the latter’s comments on the repeal of the farm laws, saying she has run out of issues to politicise. In 2020, she criticised the Congress for allegedly playing politics over the migrant crisis during the pandemic.
In 2019, the UP Congress had written to the then Speaker, seeking disqualification of Singh for defying the party whip and attending a special assembly session organised by the Yogi Adityanath government.
Former Gandhi family aide
Aditi was once considered a close aide of the Gandhi family as she belongs to Rae Bareli, and her family has held this seat for nearly three decades.
Her father was the Congress MLA from here from 1993 to 2007, before winning as an Independent in 2007. He won from this seat again in 2012 on a Peace Party of India ticket. Aditi won this seat on a Congress ticket in 2017.
“Priyanka Gandhi attended only one rally in the 2017 assembly elections, and that was for Aditi. She considered her like a younger sister,” a UP Congress functionary told ThePrint.
A source close to Aditi said things turned bitter between her and the Congress after her father’s death in 2019.
“Whole Gandhi family liked her a lot but terms got bad after her father’s death in 2019. No one from the Gandhi family reached Aditi’s home. On the other hand, CM Yogi called her twice. Though Priyanka reached after a few days, things had turned bad by then,” the source said.
“Her father, Akhilesh Singh, had a Robin Hood image in Rae Bareli but Aditi needed a strong backup as she was once allegedly attacked while coming to Rae Bareli from Lucknow. CM Yogi approached her and provided security to her,” the source added.
The source also said the reason behind Aditi’s decision to join the BJP is that her father was on good terms with Yogi Adityanath. “It was his last wish that his daughter should join the BJP. Another reason is that the BJP also wanted to defeat the Gandhis in their bastion so they were trying to take Aditi on their side.”
‘Congress should fight for women in party-ruled states first’
Speaking to the media Wednesday, Aditi said her husband — Angad Singh, Congress MLA from Punjab’s Nawanshahr — doesn’t have any objection to her joining the BJP.
“Husband and wife may have different political ideologies. He is as free to choose any ideology as I. He doesn’t have any objection to my joining (the BJP). I want to work under the leadership of Modi ji & Yogi ji for the welfare of Rae Bareli,” she said.
Referring to the Congress’ decision to give 40 per cent tickets to women, Aditi said: “Priyanka Gandhi should apply this in those states where Congress is in power. She should fight for women justice in those states first.”
(Edited by Neha Mahajan)