Just month ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, the Congress has suffered a major blow to its campaign as a top party leader joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Congress' Chhattisgarh working president and MLA Ramdayal Uike on Saturday joined the ruling BJP in the presence of party chief Amit Shah and CM Raman Singh.
Uike, who represents Pali-Tanakhar constituency, is considered a popular tribal leader in Bilaspur division.
Talking to reporters are switching sides, Uike said he was feeling suffocated in the Congress as Scheduled Tribes (ST) leaders were being neglected by the party leadership.
"I had been feeling suffocated in Congress for the last several years. Congress has diverted from its ideology and principles. The CD politics of Congress has tarnished its image. State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel has maligned the image of the party by encouraging the obscene CD politics," he said.
Uike was apparently referring to a case of circulation of a 'sex CD' purportedly featuring a state minister, in which Baghel was named as one of the five accused.
He further said his party high command did not pay attention to his demand to remove Baghel from the post of state unit president.
"Congress has neglected the interests of tribals, backward and poor people and I was pained over it as I represent a tribal region. CM Raman Singh has been making efforts for overall development of tribals and backward people and his development oriented policies have impressed me to rejoin my home party," he said.
Uike, who had quit the BJP and joined the Congress in 2000, described his return to the ruling party as 'ghar wapsi'.
When asked about contesting elections, he said he will follow the directions of the party leadership in this regard.
Reacting to the development, Congress dubbed Uike as an "opportunist" and said his decision will not harm the opposition party.
"Uike has gone back to BJP, which he had left earlier for opportunistic reasons. He has again proved that he is an opportunist," Congress state communication wing chief Shailesh Nitin Trivedi told PTI.
(With inputs from PTI)