A month before Chhattisgarh elections, senior Congress leader joins BJP

Chhattisgarh: In a major setback to the Congress just a month before the state goes to polls, Chhattisgarh party working president and former MLA from Pali-Tanakhar Ramdayal Uike joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday.

Uike was inducted into the BJP by party chief Amit Shah in the presence of Chief Minister Raman Singh, in Bilaspur.

“Tribal leaders are neglected and not favoured in the Congress. There is a difference in what they say and what they do,” Uike, who is a four-time lawmaker from Pali in Chhattisgarh, said.

The Congress has expressed surprise over Uike’s move.

The Congress had already suffered a setback in Chhattisgarh last month, when the state party chief Bhupesh Bhaghel was caught in a sex CD controversy and was sent to jail. Bhaghel is now out on bail.

18 of the 90 Assembly constituencies in Chhattisgarh will vote on November 12, including the Maoist-affected Bastar and Rajnandgaon districts. The second phase of polling is on November 20. Results will be declared on December 11.

Uike quitting the Congress comes on a day when Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati is in the state to kick off the election campaign for the first phase of the polls. Leaving the Congress in a lurch, Mayawati last month forged an alliance with Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) for the upcoming elections.

While kicking off the campaign in Chhattisgarh on Friday, BJP chief Amit Shah asked party workers to create an environment for a “massive wave” in the favour of BJP, so that it turned into a “tsunami” in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.