C’garh Cong work­ing pres­i­dent joins BJP

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - EJAZ KAISER

IN what is a shot in the arm of the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the Ch­hat­tis­garh polls, a work­ing pres­i­dent of the Congress and a known tribal face, Ram Dayal Uike, has joined the saf­fron party in the pres­ence of BJP chief Amit Shah at Bilaspur on Satur­day.

While the BJP claimed Uike’s de­ci­sion would strengthen the party to ac­com­plish the mis­sion of 65 seats, the Congress ex­pressed sur­prise over the de­vel­op­ment.

“We feel as­tounded. But the Congress al­ways has an al­ter­na­tive. A strong for­mi­da­ble can­di­date will re­place him from the seat where he was likely to con­test,” said a se­nior Congress leader and leader of op­po­si­tion T S Singhdeo.

Uike, who had quit the BJP in 2000 to join the Con­gressled govern­ment, va­cated his tribal seat of Mar­wahi to al­low then CM Ajit Jogi to con­test from there.

A four-time MLA, Uike’s move is a ma­jor set­back to the Congress. Uike said he had been feel­ing suf­fo­cated in the Congress. In Ch­hat­tis­garh Congress, be­sides the pres­i­dent there are two work­ing pres­i­dents from ST and SC.

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