Terming the Bharatiya Janata Party 'anti-Dalit', disgruntled BJP MP from northwest Delhi Udit Raj joined the Congress on Wednesday after being denied a ticket and slammed his former party saying it wants Dalit votes but not a leader from the community who speaks his mind.
Raj, who joined the Congress after meeting party president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Wednesday morning, alleged that the BJP wanted a 'deaf and dumb' Dalit leader and he could never fit in as he could not stay quiet on matters related to the scheduled castes.
The BJP has replaced Raj from the North West Lok Sabha constituency with Punjabi Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans.
"I wanted to join the Congress since a long time and Rahul Gandhi knows this. I dont lie. If BJP would have given me a ticket from there (northwest), I would have fought from there.
"But because of this (not being given ticket), a big thing has come out before the people that how anti-Dalit, the BJP is," he said at a press conference.
Raj claimed that the BJP did not give him a ticket as he had spoken out in support of the Dalits who were protesting last year against the alleged dilution of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
"My mistake was that when the atrocities act was changed, I was not deaf and dumb in the BJP. If one stays deaf and dumb in the BJP, that person can also be made the prime minister by them," he said.
Raj was flanked by Delhi Pradesh Congress chief Sheila Dikshit, General Secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal, and party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala at the presser.
Various surveys, including an internal survey of the BJP, had showed that his was the only seat (north-west), the party was winning clear cut, but still he was denied a ticket, he claimed.
"On May 20, 2014, Ram Nath Kovind came to my place. Vivek Sonkar of the BJP's SC/ST morcha is a witness to this. Kovindji said to me that 'mera bhi kuch karayiye' (get something done for me).
"They (the BJP) had not even considered Kovind good enough for giving him a ticket when he wanted it. So, do you see the benefit of staying quiet, (one is made) President. If I would have stayed quiet, they could have made me the prime minister in future," he said.
Raj also slammed the BJP alleging that in practice it had not done anything for the Dalits during its five-year rule.
"They are just indulging in propaganda and duping," he said.
Raj said he will work towards ensuring that the BJP candidate loses his deposit on the north-west Delhi seat.
Dikshit welcomed Raj and said his joining the Congress has given a major boost to the party in Delhi.
"His coming into the party will help the Congress win many seats," she said.
Surjewala hailed Raj for being the voice of Dalits and those oppressed. He hit out at the BJP government, alleging that large-scale atrocities were committed against the Dalits under the BJP rule.
Venugopal, in his remarks, said Raj always fought with passion on issues related to the Dalits even against the government.
On Tuesday, Raj had said the BJP might have decided to drop him for protesting against the Supreme Court's order that nullified the stringent provisions of the Dalit protection law.
The former BJP MP had often held views contrary to the party's stand, especially during the Sabarimala issue and 'Bharat Bandh' called by Dalit organisations last year.
Earlier this month, he was at the centre of controversy after being caught in a sting done on several MPs, which purportedly showed lawmakers accepting use of black money for contesting polls.