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Speculation over Jitin quitting Cong; Party debunks reports

Speculation over Jitin quitting Cong; Party debunks reports
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New Delhi: Speculation was rife on Friday that Congress leader Jitin Prasada may join the BJP but the Congress rejected such reports, while the former union minister termed them as "hypothetical".

Sources said some senior Congress leaders including Jyotiraditya Scindia met Prasada on Friday afternoon in a bid to placate him and Prasada relented after senior party leader Ahmed Patel spoke to him later in the evening.

Prasada, who has been been fielded by the party from Dhaurahra Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, is reportedly unhappy at not being given a senior responsibility within the party, whereas his peers have been made PCC chiefs or in-charges in many states.

His name was earlier doing the rounds for the post of PCC chief in Uttar Pradesh. Prasada is the son of Congress veteran Jitendra Prasada who had unsuccessfully contested against Sonia Gandhi for the post of Congress president in 2000. When asked about the speculation regarding Prasada quitting, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala was derisive in his response. "Jitin Bhai and I go back a long way. So even on personal capacity, I can say and I do never use such words but I think it is bullshit," said Surjewala. Prasada said speculation about him joining the archrival BJP is "hypothetical".

"There should be some basis for such a question. Why should I answer a hypothetical question?" he said to queries about whether he was joining the BJP. The sources said Prasada is also upset about the choice of party candidates around his constituency which he fears may harm his poll prospects. Meanwhile, National Conference chief Omar Abdullah questioned Prasada's response. "Why can't Jitin Prasada just give a categorical denial? It's hardly a hypothetical question when every news channel is carrying reports," he tweeted.

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