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Cong Spokesperson Tom Vadakkan joins BJP; says 'hurt' over party's stand post-Pulwama strike

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

In an embarrassment to the Congress, Tom Vadakkan, once seen as a key aide of Sonia Gandhi, joined the BJP on Thursday, saying he was "deeply hurt" over the opposition party's stand post-Pulwama terror strike, and that his decision was "not about ideology but patriotism".

Jolted by the surprise announcement, the was quick to dismiss Vadakkan's criticism of the party saying that till now he used to "abuse" Narendra Modi, and hoped that all his "desires may be fulfilled" in the BJP.

Vadakkan, who joined the saffron party in the presence of Prasad and later met its Amit Shah, said, "I am deeply hurt and that is why I am here."

Claiming that the questioned the integrity of the armed forces, he said, "the attack by Pakistani terrorists on our land and the reaction by my party was sad indeed. It hurt me deeply when the integrity of armed forces was questioned. That is precisely the reason why I am here. It is not about ideology but about patriotism."

"If a party takes a position which is against the country then I had no other option but to leave it," the 60 year old told reporters after joining the BJP.

In an apparent attack on for his leadership skills, said he has served the party for two decades but it has now resorted to a practise of "use and throw" which is not acceptable to a

Criticising the Congress, the from said dynastic has reached its zenith and the party workers dont know whom to listen to and who is the "power centre".

Praising Narendra Modi, said he believes in his development narrative.

According to sources, was not given Lok Sabha tickets by the party in 2009 and 2014 and was not happy with the treatment meted out to him.

There are indications that the BJP may field the former from a seat in in upcoming

Reacting to Vadakkan joining the BJP, Surjewala, at a press conference, said: "Our best wishes to him."

On Vadakkan citing dynastic and the Congress's stand on the Pulwama terror attack and India's retaliatory strikes as his reasons for quitting, Surjewala said every person who leaves a party to join another "searching for a better future" has to say something.

"Till now he used to abuse Modi, so what is the opinion of Modi ji and ji on that," he said.

"We were very pained at his departure. We hope whatever his desires are, they are fulfilled in the BJP," Surjewala said.

Interestingly, Vadakkan had recently tweeted, "Once you join BJP all your crimes are cleansed" while replying to a tweet that raised questions on why former TMC Mukul Roy, who joined the BJP, was not being questioned anymore for his alleged involvement in the Sharada Chit fund scam.

Asked about his tweet and other previous remarks against the BJP and its leadership, Vadakkan said, they were made as a of the Congress and he was only saying what he was asked to say by the party.

"I had been saying a lot of things as a spokesperson, which I am supposed to say on the party's line. I stand by what I have said as a of the Congress. But, now I am a free man. I am now able to speak openly and freely. I am the individual what I am now," he told

Vadakkan also praised the RSS, saying that organisation has been "misunderstood" by highlighting its remarks selectively.

After assumed the leadership of the party, Vadakkan became an integral part of the Congress' However, he was sidelined and though he was a spokesperson under Rahul Gandhi's leadership, he never wielded any influence in the party's in the recent past.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 14 2019. 20:00 IST