Congress leader and spokesperson Tom Vadakkan joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday stating that his party’s reaction to the Pulwama terror strike which killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel had ‘hurt’ him ‘deeply’ rendering it impossible for him to continue there.

A day later, on Friday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that Vadakkan was not a big leader.

Stating that it was ‘not about the ideology’, rather about the ‘love for the nation’, Tom Vadakkan had announced his change of heart at a press conference attended by top BJP leaders like Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rakesh Sinha and Ravi Baluni.

Stating that questioning ‘the integrity of the armed forces’ had hurt him deeply, the former Congress spokesperson has joined the BJP with just a few weeks left to the Lok Sabha polls due in April-May.

Considered to be a close aide of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Tom Vadakkan also noted that the legacy of dynastic politics in the Congress has ‘reached a zenith’. Describing what he called a ‘use-and-throw policy’, the leader spoke to the media pointing out that ‘self-respecting workers of the party’ could not longer continue as the ‘power centres’ of the Congress were difficult to locate.

In the aftermath of Pulwama, the Congress along with other opposition parties had raised questions asking for more ‘details’ of the Balakot air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF). Opposition parties have also accused the Modi government of trying to politicise the Balakot air strike to feed a narrative on nationalism for votes ahead of elections.

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