Priyanka Chaturvedi joins Sena, asserts I am back to my roots
In a major jolt to the Congress, its spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi on Friday formally joined the Shiv Sena, saying she felt “let down” by the Rahul Gandhi-led party for its failure to act firmly against “some lumpen goons” who were reinstated after having been suspended for “misbehaving” with her while she was on her official duty.
“If I have joined the party, it is only with a feeling to serve and not for political posts. I wanted to come back to my roots. When I thought of coming back, I did not find any organisation better than this and no other better platform than this,” she said.
A day after she sent her resignation as the AICC spokesperson and Convener (Communication) to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, 39-year-old Chaturvedi joined the Sena in the presence of Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.
Yuv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray presented Priyanka a bouquet and tied on her wrist a thread symbolising “Shiv Bandhan”.
Welcoming Chaturvedi into his party, Thackeray said that he would give her an important responsibility that would suit her “capability and intelligence” so that she could work for the party and country effectively.
Informed party sources said given her reach in the media, fluency in English and Hindi and familiarity with national issues, the Shiv Sena might consider to appoint Chaturvedi as its national spokesperson and at some stage in future, it might send her to Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra.
In her resignation letter sent to Rahul on Thursday with “a heavy heart”, Chaturvedi stated, “A serious incident and misbehaviour against me by certain party members while I was on official duty for the party, has been ignored under the guise of all hands needed for elections. The indignity to me has been the final factor to convince me to move on and focus on other things outside INC.”
Chaturvedi’s entry to the Shiv Sena came two days after she tweeted: “Deeply saddened that lumpen goons get preference in @incindia over those who have given their sweat & blood. Having faced brickbats & abuse across board for the party but yet those who threatened me within the party getting away with not even a rap on their knuckles is unfortunate”.
Denying that her decision to quit the Congress had anything to do with her not getting a party ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls, Chaturvedi said, “As a Congress functionary, I used to present women issues strongly on various platforms. But, I felt sad when some congress workers made certain comments about me. I had some relief the party workers were suspended. But the suspended party workers were reinstated into the party. For me as a person with no political connection who had given 10 years of her life to the party without selfish motives at a great personal cost, the reinstatement of those who misbehaved with me came as a big letdown”.
“But I know once I leave from here, I will be trolled a lot. People will ask me questions as to why there is a sudden change in me (that prompted to join the Shiv Sena). But, I can tell you with confidence from this platform that I have taken the decision to join the Shiv Sena after a considerable thought to my responsibilities before me in the coming days. Under the leaderships of Uddhavji and Adityaji, I will do whatever I can work to strengthen the party – be it in Mumbai or anywhere at the national level and take the party’s ideas across the country,” Chaturvedi said.
She cited an example of how a woman in a family felt when her own mother would refused to stand by her when she went and complained to the latter that she had been sexually assaulted within the family. “I was giving you only an example considering that I have gone public and expressed displeasure… I stand for what I say and I have done it,” she said.
On why she joined the Shiv Sena of all parties, Chaturvedi said, “I have always been in Mumbai and I have known the Shiv Sena since my birth… Like every Mumbaikar and Maharashtrian, I have always had some affinity for Shiv Sena.
Replying to question, Chaturvedi said though her family came from Mathura where there was still a family house, she had not sought a Congress ticket from Mathura.
She stated that she had joined the Youth Congress in Mumbai ten years ago “as I believed in the ideology of the party and your vision of inclusive, liberal and progressive politics”.
Maintaining that during the last 10 years the party had given her various platforms to learn and grown in political and public space and she had taken forward the vision and message of the party to the people, Chaturvedi said she had carried out the responsibilities given to her with dedication, passion and commitment.
“I don’t even have to remind you of having faced personal threats, slander and abuse and so have my family members including my kids in the course of my service to the party,” she said.
“I have immense respect and good wishes for you, the party, most of the senior leaders who mentored and encouraged a rank outsider like me to come into the system,” Chaturvedi said, while thanking party workers with whom she had worked.
Saturday, 20 April 2019 | TN RAGHUNATHA | Mumbai
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