The Congress party in Chhattisgarh suffered a major setback, a month ahead of the Assembly elections, after Ram Dayal Uike, the state executive president, joined the BJP on Saturday. Mr Uike was inducted into the party by BJP chief Amit Shah in the presence of Chief Minister Raman Singh, in Bilaspur.
“We met a few days ago but Ram Dayal Uike did not say any thing,” Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Bhaghel told NDTV, adding that politicians switching parties in the election season is not uncommon.
Mr Uike is a four-time lawmaker from Pali in Chhattisgarh.
The Congress election decision making body, chaired by Rahul Gandhi, has finalised the candidates for Chhattisgarh on Friday. Sources in the party said, the names will be announced in a day or two. The party has been unable to stitch an alliance with the regional parties for the Assembly elections.
The Congress has already suffered a setback in Chhattisgarh last month, when state party chief was caught in a sex CD controversy and was sent to jail.
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.
Mr 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.
BJP chief Amit Shah, while kicking off the campaign in Chhattisgarh on Friday, 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.
Addressing the booth-level BJP workers in Bilaspur, Mr Shah hit out at the Congress, accusing the party of engaging in the politics of appeasement for votes and doing nothing against “infiltrators” who were like “termites”.