The father-son pair, who came close to the Gandhi family seven times, went away eight times
When you pass outside a court, especially in Uttar Pradesh, you will see bags of lawyers. Basta means the sitting place of middle and small scale lawyers, their office. On the road near the court, took a small place on the platform. Shaded with tarpaulin. Installed his chair-table, swirl fan and got ready the lawyer’s bag. Then from here, all the advocacy goes. The bags have a great reputation. Large and old settlements become landmarks. If someone asks where will you meet outside the court, then people tell that on the bag of a lawyer. There is more prestige to those bags, which have been stored for generations. One generation has collected, now the other has taken over.
Today we will also talk about a similar bag. This bag is not of the court, but politics. Two generations put together the bag, the third generation took over, but amid a sense of neglect, he finally gave up this bag and laid his sackcloth in the right front bag. In the political story today, the leader of Uttar Pradesh will talk about Jitin Prasad. Whose last two generations were in Congress. Jitin himself was a Congressman for almost two decades. But not from 9 June 2021. Now he is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. There are assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in 2022 and this context, it is being called an important political move.
But as we said, this bag stored in the Congress of Jitin was kept by his ancestors. That’s why the story will start from the ancestors themselves.
The Zamindar Gharana of Shahjahanpur and the Tagore Family
“Our passions, our desires are uncontrolled. But it is our character that keeps them under control.”
These lines are written by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. I read these lines because this story begins with Tagore and ends with desires.
Rabindra Nath Tagore’s father Devendra Nath Tagore had 14 children. Among them was a brother of Rabindra Nath – Hemendra Nath Tagore. He also has a good contribution to literature, in philosophy. In 1884, a daughter was born in Hemendra Nath’s house. full moon. She was the daughter of the Tagore household. The marriage also took place in a big family. Poornima Devi was married to Sir Jwala Prasad, the Zamindar of Shahjahanpur and an officer of the Imperial Civil Service of the British. Both had a son. Named- Kunwar Jyoti Prasad. Even the Prasad family did not have any special political history. But Jyoti Prasad laid its foundation. He joined Indian National Congress. He was involved in the freedom movements with Nehru. But still, the political best of the family was yet to come.
prasad family politics in congress
Jyoti Prasad was married to Pamela Devi, who came from Kapurthala State at that time. Son happened. Named Jitendra. Jitendra Prasad. Jitendra Prasad received training from the top colleges of that time. Colvin Talukdar College of Lucknow. Sherwood College of Nainital. And after studies, following in the footsteps of the father joined the Congress in the tenth of 70. The second generation of Prasad’s family had joined the Congress.
Jitendra Prasad got the first strong political identity in 1970. He became a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council. In 1971, the fifth Lok Sabha elections were held in the country. When Indira Gandhi gave the slogan of ‘Garibi Hatao’, Uttar Pradesh’s strong Congressman Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna fielded the son of a landlord from the seat of Shahjahanpur. Jitendra Prasad contested the elections and won. I Became MP for the first time. After the Emergency, the Congress lost badly in the 77 elections, Jitendra Prasad also lost. But made a comeback. Won from the same seat in 1980 also, won in 84.
Jitendra Prasad’s loyalty and reward
Meanwhile, there was a major breakdown in Congress. After the announcement of the 77 Lok Sabha elections, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna revolted from the party. Formed Congress for Democracy Party along with former Defense Minister Jagjivan Ram. In that election, this party got 28 seats, which later merged with the Janata Dal. When Bahuguna parted, he also sent a message to Jitendra Prasad. Or rather, the call was sent. But Jitendra Prasad said –
“I would think it better to leave politics than to leave Congress. As long as I am in politics, I am a Congressman.
Jitendra Prasad got the fruits of this loyalty from the party in 84. Rajiv Gandhi made Jitendra Prasad the General Secretary of AICC and also included him among his political advisors. Senior journalist Aurangzeb Naqshbandi explains –
“There was a big change in the Congress after Sonia Gandhi became the Congress President. Work started on Single Window System. Only one name and one name used to be included in the advisors of Sonia Gandhi. of Ahmed Patel. But it was not so during the time of Rajiv Gandhi. He had prepared a whole team of consultants. He used to follow the Horses for Courses policy in this regard. The kind of advice needed was discussed with the expert consultant. Jitendra Prasad was an important part of this advisory board of Rajiv.
Written by Navya Chandravanshi
Navya Chandravanahi is the Daughter of Deepa Chandravanshi & Nishant Chandravanshi. Nishant Chandravanshi is the GeoPolitical YouTuber, Historian, Social Worker (Activist). Deepa Chandravanshi is a Geo-Political Analyst, Social Activist & Writer.
Famous writer and journalist Rashid Kidwai also agrees with this. They say –
“Rajiv Gandhi had given place to different experts in the advisors. Like P Shivshankar for legal advice, Makhanlal Fotedar for advice on Kashmir. And then there were three advisors of Rajiv Gandhi known as Amar, Akbar, Anthony.
Equations changed after Rajiv’s murder
Things started changing for Jitendra Prasad in 1989. He was defeated by BJP candidate Satyapal Yadav in Shahjahanpur. Two years passed amidst heavy political upheaval in the country and then the date of 21 May 1991 came. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. And from here the political equations of Jitendra Prasad were completely overturned. He was shocked by Rajiv’s death, but from here he decided to change his style of politics as well.
PV Narasimha Rao became the Prime Minister. During the time of Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao did not have any special inquiry. But when he became PM, Jitendra Prasad took good equations with him. In 1994, Jitendra Prasad was sent to the Rajya Sabha and along with Narasimha Rao handed over the charge of UP to him. And in the meantime, ‘Jitti Bhai’ made the mistake, which Congress is suffering till today in UP.
Rashid Kidwai says that Narasimha Rao agreed to the Congress-BSP alliance in UP, blindly relying on Jitendra Prasad’s inputs. This proved to be a suicidal decision for Congress in the state. There is a famous story about this. Kanshi Ram and Jitendra Prasad were present at a press conference. Journalists were asking again and again that the Saab alliance is fine, but what is the distribution of seats. Congress leaders including Jitendra were avoiding this question. But on repeated questions, Kanshi Ram said in a fit of rage –
“We will fight on 300 seats and Congress on 125 seats.”
Congress leaders bowed their heads in that press conference itself. It was a kind of shame for the largest party of the country at that time that it should compromise on seats in the largest state. The Congress-BSP alliance was a flop and Jitendra Prasad’s gameplan too.
Kesari’s withdrawal, Sonia Vs Jitendra
Now comes the most important chapter of Jitendra Prasad’s political career. Sitaram Kesari was the President of Congress from September 1996 to March 1998. 1998 was the time when Sonia Gandhi was fully prepared to enter active politics. According to a BBC article, Kesari and a section of his supporters wanted to stop Sonia from entering active politics. At the same time, a section of Congress wanted to remove Kesari from the post of president. Firstly, the leaders of the South and North-East used to have trouble talking to him because Kesari did not know English. Then many upper caste leaders of North India were not even able to accept him on the post of president. Kesari himself did not like anything special to the Brahmins of North India, Thakur Congressmen. At that time, names like Jitendra Prasad, Karunakaran, Sharad Pawar, Arjun Singh come among the leaders who were against Kesari.
Meanwhile, elections were held in 1998. Kesari was completely removed from the election campaign from the Congress side. Sonia was kept on the front. He was not taken forward for campaigning in any state. Meanwhile, Kesari left for Delhi to Jalandhar. But the plane returned from Ambala itself. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who accompanied Kesari, told that Kesari was having trouble breathing in the plane, so did not go to Ambala. The prophet said –
“I was worried a lot about my uncle’s health. He was in a lot of pain and was suffocating.”
Well, Congress fell face to face in the election. Even stalwarts like Arjun Singh and ND Tiwari could not save the seat. But the blame for the defeat was thrown on Kesari’s head. Sonia Gandhi became the Congress President amidst all the nostalgia of Kesari.
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi explains –
“After becoming the President of Sonia Jitendra Prasad did not get the attention that he was thinking. Leaders like Ahmed Patel became one of Sonia Gandhi’s advisors and many other leaders started being sidelined. Gradually, Sharad Pawar, Fotedar and all other leaders started bringing Jitendra Prasad to the front saying that you should fight the elections. Whereas it was nothing but a provocation.
Rashid Kidwai says that it was the same leader who was telling Sonia on the other hand that if elections are held, madam, let it happen, we will see. That is, batting was going on from both sides. Meanwhile, in 1999, Jitendra Prasad once again reached the Lok Sabha by winning from Shahjahanpur. Confidence was at its peak. Organizational elections were held within the party in 2000. Jitendra Prasad barely got 4 per cent votes in front of Sonia Gandhi. This defeat was even more humiliating than crippling. Jitendra Prasad was shocked by this defeat. Although he died on 16 January 2001, before he could think of the next stage of his political innings.
The rise of Jitin Prasada
Jitin Prasad’s Noor-e-Chashm of Jitendra Prasad made his debut in politics this year. Jitin joined the Youth Congress and became active in politics from Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, the father’s workplace. Born in 1973, Jitin was educated at Doon School. Jyotiraditya Scindia, Dushyant Singh, Kalikesh Dev had studied with him. All of them later became veteran politicians. Scindia, Dushyant came to Congress. Kalikesh became an MP from Biju Janata Dal. Scindia is now in BJP.
After Doon, Jitin studied at Shri Ram College. MBA from International Management Institute. Here in 2001, as soon as he joined the Youth Congress, he was also given the responsibility of General Secretary. This was the time when many young leaders came forward in Congress. Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya and Rahul Gandhi himself. Leaders like Pilot, Scindia and Jitin were involved in Team Rahul.
Jitin also got its reward. Once again ministerial post in UPA-2. He got the responsibility as Minister of State in important ministries like petroleum, road-transport. Even Jitin Prasad’s political career was going on bomb-bomb. He was at the peak in Congress. Had a good friendship with Rahul Gandhi. But the Modi wave of 2014 was still there.
A bet that Jitin didn’t play
In 2014 also Jitin Prasad fought from Dhaurahara seat but this time the camel changed its side. The factory, whose foundation was laid in 2009, had not even started yet. Jitin Prasada was cut off from the public and his image among the public was beginning to be of a monarchical type. And then came the Modi wave. Jitin Prasada lost the election. BJP’s Rekha Verma won from here. Jitin Prasada leaves No.-2, leave No.-3, stay at No.-4. He got about 1 lakh 90 thousand votes less than the winning candidate.
After the defeat in the Lok Sabha, in the desire to do something good in the state Congress, he decided to contest the assembly in 2017 and got a ticket from Tilhar. Jitin had completely lost his support base and the image of a grassroots leader. Till now it had been 16 years since Jitendra Prasad passed away. Therefore, his name was also not to get any political benefit. Jitin also lost the legislature. Roshan Lal Verma of BJP defeated him by a close margin of about 5 thousand votes. The second successive defeat was disappointing, but even the party’s faith in Jitin remained intact.
The 2019 Lok Sabha elections came. Till now the crisis of saving existence was looming in front of Congress. Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia held command in Uttar Pradesh. Rahul was in command as the national president. Meanwhile, a big piece of advice was given to Jitin Prasad from Delhi. That “Jitin Ji, you fight from Lucknow.”
Fighting Lucknow means fighting against Rajnath Singh. Losing was almost certain. But sometimes defeat in politics also makes the leader big. Sushma Swaraj, Sonia Gandhi, Bellary… these three keywords also prove this point. Fighting against Rajnath from Lucknow would have been a gamble for Jitin, which might have increased his political stature despite his defeat. But he was not ready for it. After losing one Lok Sabha and one assembly, he was not ready for the third defeat. He decided to fight Dhaurahara from his safe seat. Contested the elections and Jitin lost again. And not only lost but this time even his security was forfeited. Rekha Verma won from here again.
On the other hand, due to the rejection of Lucknow’s proposal, his equation with Rahul-Priyanka also deteriorated. Political stars of Jitin Prasada went into the heat.
How did the equation of departure from the party come about?
After the defeat of 2019, Jitin Prasad started feeling that now he cannot write chapters of political success by collaborating with Congress. Congress also started feeling that now is the time to look ahead of Jitin.
A senior journalist who has a close understanding of the politics of UP and Congress, says on the condition of anonymity that –
“Jitin Prasad has been one of those leaders who were born with a silver spoon. As soon as he joined the party, he became the General Secretary of Youth Congress. As soon as he became an MP for the first time, he also became a minister. He did politics on the land made by his father. But could not create the image of a grassroots leader. When Congress was in power and Rahul Gandhi was well known, things were easy in the initial phase. But after 2014, along with the Congress, Jitin’s graph also came down sharply. Now Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are thinking of overhauling the party. They want to destroy the royalty, dynasty image of the party. An example of this is the appointment of Ajay Singh Lallu as the president of UP. While Jitin Prasad also wanted to become the president. The party is now beginning to feel that Jitin Prasada cannot struggle.
By making Ajay Lallu the UP chief, the Congress had now given a direct message to Jitin Prasada that the party was thinking ahead of him. Meanwhile, at the end of 2020, Jitin was also sent as the in-charge of West Bengal elections, but it was a loss-loss situation. Congress lost in Bengal and here Jitin was sidelined by UP politics. Jitin also complained that his words were not paid attention to in Bengal and the party did what Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury or Randeep Surjewala said. Justin did not want Congress to ally with the Indian Secular Front in Bengal. Jitin said that this would weaken the party’s image among Brahmins in the 2022 UP elections. Jitin was also concerned about his Brahmin image. But they were not listened to. Congress lost in Bengal. Jitin also returned empty-handed from there. He also felt that he was deliberately sent to Bengal to distance him from the politics of UP, where the party was never really in competition.
close to BJP
Meanwhile, since 2019, Jitin Prasad’s closeness with the BJP was increasing. It is also said that Jitin did not fight from Lucknow in 2019 because he did not want to upset Rajnath. He stayed in the Congress for 2 years, because he was expected to get some big responsibility in the Bengal elections.
At the same time, when the Congress leader of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot was angry with the party, Jitin Prasad supported him. Jitin had tweeted,
“Sachin Pilot is not only my colleague but also my friend. No one can deny the fact that he has worked for the party with full dedication. I hope this situation will be corrected soon. I am also saddened by such a situation.”
Will Brahmins become the face?
But why did Jitin Prasada join BJP? The first reason is that Jitin does not see his future in Congress. Nor is there any place for Jitin in Priyanka Gandhi’s Plan-UP. The second reason- Jitin has been trying for a long time. To become the Brahmin face of UP. In this effort, he had announced the ‘Brahma Chetna Samvad Program’ in July 2020. It was said that this program has been made to protect the interests of Brahmins. Jitin Prasada said at that time-
“The Yogi Adityanath government in the state is treating the Brahmins step-motherly.”
At that time Congress had distanced itself from it. Many leaders even said that this is Jitin Prasad’s issue, the party has nothing to do with it. Now he has reached the BJP with the same intention. The BJP also took Jitin hand in hand because since 2018 it is being said in UP that an anti-Brahmin image is being created about the government. This message has also reached Delhi. In 2018, Apple executive Vivek Tiwari was allegedly killed by two policemen in Lucknow. Then the crooks Vikas Dubey encounter the case of 2020. For this reason, now the BJP is trying to keep the Brahmin face together. Although Jitin Prasad is a very big Brahmin face, political experts do not believe this at all. Believe it, even after joining BJP, Jitin will have to find his land. Anyway, it will not be easy to become the Brahmin face of the party as soon as Jitin Prasad comes in between names like Dinesh Sharma and Rita Bahuguna Joshi.