Setback for Cong as tribal face joins BJP
In a jolt to Congress in Chhattisgarh ahead of November assembly elections, four-time MLA Ram Dayal Uike, considered tribal face of the party in the state, on Saturday switched over to BJP.
Mr Uike, who was Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (CPCC) working president, has blamed CPCC president Bhupesh Baghel for leaving the party, saying, “I was feeling suffocated in the Congress due to neglect of SC and ST leaders by the party under Mr Baghel’s leadership”.
He also accused Mr Baghel of indulging in “CD” politics tarnishing image of Congress in Chhattisgarh. He was indicating circulation of a sleaze “CD” in which face of a senior minister in Raman Singh cabinet was morphed apparently to taint his image.
Mr Baghel was among five people made accused in the case by CBI probing the incident.
BJP national president Amit Shah admitted him in his party in district headquarters of Bilashpur in Chhattisgarh in the presence of chief minister Raman Singh and state party president Dharamlal Kaushik.
“It is ‘ghar wapsi’ or home coming for Mr Uike. He commands respect of tribals in the state. BJP ‘s prospects in the tribal regions in Chhattisgarh will get a major boost in the coming assembly elections following with his joining the party”, Mr Singh said.
CPCC president Bhupesh Baghel however described Mr Uike’s decision to hop over to BJP ahead of assembly elections, barely one month away, as an “opportunistic” step.
Sources said Mr Uike, currently representing Palli Tanakhar (ST) assembly constituency in Bilashpur district, was upset over being overlooked in the recent constitution of committee of CPCC and has been in touch with BJP leadership in Chhattisgarh for the past four days.
Mr Uike had joined Congress from BJP after vacating his Marwahi (ST) assembly constituency for former chief minister and founding president of recently floated Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) Ajit Jogi in 2000 when Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.
Ram Dayal Uike