Cong turncoat Bittu now part of Modi's council of ministers; Jitin Prasada also makes the cut

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) Former Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu is the only leader from among those who switched from the grand old party to the BJP just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to have made it to the council of ministers even though he lost the polls from Punjab's Ludhiana.

Bittu took oath as a Minister of State at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Sunday.

Besides Bittu, Jitin Prasada and Jyotiraditya Scindia are also former Congress leaders but they had switched sides much earlier during the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While Prasad has been inducted as a Union Minister of State after serving as a minister in the BJP's Uttar Pradesh government, Scindia has been retained in the Cabinet.

Raj Bhushan Choudhari, who was earlier in the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and joined the BJP in 2020, was also sworn in as a Minister of State.

In March, three-time MP Bittu had joined the BJP in Delhi and said people have made up their mind to elect Modi as prime minister again.

Bittu is the grandson of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, who was assassinated in a terror attack in 1995.

Reacting to Bittu's move of leaving the Congress and joining the BJP, Punjab Congress leaders said people will not forgive Bittu for "gaddari" (betrayal).

Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring took on Bittu in Ludhiana and beat him by 20,942 votes. Bittu will now need to be elected to Parliament within six months.

However, Bittu has been inducted into the council of ministers, keeping in mind representation to Punjab, where the BJP has drawn a blank in the Lok Sabha polls.

Bittu had been the MP twice from Ludhiana and once from Anandpur Sahib.

Prasada had quit the Congress in 2021 to join the BJP and was a Cabinet Minister in the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh with the public works department portfolio.

He retained his ministerial post in the state and continued as a Member of Legislative Council (MLC) when the BJP government came back to power for the second time in Uttar Pradesh in 2022.

Prasada beat Bhagwat Saran Gangwar of the Samajwadi Party to win the Pilibhit Lok Sabha seat by 1,64,935 votes.

Scindia had resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP in March 2020 and his move triggered a chain of events which finally culminated in the collapse of the Kamal Nath government just 15 months after its formation, paving the way for the saffron party to assume power which it lost towards the end of 2018. PTI ASK BJ ASK ANB ANB

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