Ch­hat­tis­garh Congress chief joins BJP

Ram­dayal Uike had quit the BJP and joined the Congress in 2000.

The Sunday Guardian - - Nation -

With state elec­tions just a month away, the Op­po­si­tion Congress suf­fered a jolt in Ch­hat­tis­garh as its state work­ing pres­i­dent and four-time law­maker, Ram­dayal Uike joined the rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Satur­day.

Uike, con­sid­ered as a pop­u­lar tribal leader in the state, was in­ducted into the BJP by party chief Amit Shah in the pres­ence of Chief Min­is­ter Ra­man Singh, in Bi­laspur. Se­nior BJP lead­ers termed Uike’s join­ing the party as “Ghar Wapsi”. Uike had quit the BJP and joined the Congress in 2000.

Sources con­firmed that Uike was un­happy with Congress’ ticket dis­tri­bu­tion com­mit­tee (screen­ing com­mit­tee). The screen­ing com­mit­tee is likely to dis­close the list of names of those who have been given party can­di­da­ture to con­test the Assem­bly elec­tions in the state next week.

A source close to Uike told The Sun­day Guardian: “Uike was up­set af­ter he was re­moved from the Congress screen­ing com­mit­tee, headed by Rahul Gandhi, formed to take de­ci­sions on the Assem­bly elec­tions’ ticket dis­tri­bu­tion in the state and since then, he had been in con­stant touch with the BJP’s top lead­ers.” Speak­ing to the me­dia, Uike said he was feel­ing suf­fo­cated and side­lined 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 de­vi­ated 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,” Uike said. Uike is an MLA from Pali Tanakhar in Korba dis­trict, a re­served seat which the Gond­wana Gan- tantra Party (GGP) has been de­mand­ing. Rahul Gandhi has said yes to GGP’s de­mand and had asked state Congress to ac­com­mo­date Uike from some other seat. Uike is likely to con­test from the same seat on a BJP ticket.

The Congress had al­ready suf­fered a set­back in the state last month when the state party chief Bhu­pesh Baghel was named in a sex CD con­tro­versy as one of the five ac­cused and was sent to jail. Baghel is now on bail. Speak­ing to this re­porter on the is­sue, Congress spokesper­son Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said: “Uike has been an op­por­tunist; he had left the BJP ear­lier for an op­por­tunis­tic rea­son and he has proved it again that he is an op­por­tunis­tic politi­cian. His leav­ing the Congress will not at all hurt the party’s poll prospects in Ch­hat­tis­garh.”

“Uike was given due re­spect and posts in the party and his al­le­ga­tions that the Congress is sidelin­ing ST lead­ers in the state is base­less. The rea­sons for him leav­ing the Congress are best known to him and the peo­ple of Ch­hat­tis­garh,” Trivedi added.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lit­i­cal ob­servers, Uike’s de­par­ture has once again re­vealed that the Congress has failed to re­solve in­fight­ing in Ch­hat­tis­garh. Also, the party has lost a good op­por­tu­nity that it could have gained by weav­ing an al­liance with the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP).

Leav­ing the Congress in a lurch, Mayawati of BSP last month forged an al­liance with Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Ch­hat­tis­garh ( J) for the up­com­ing elec­tions.

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

BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah wel­comes Ram­dayal Uike into the party in Bi­laspur, Ch­hat­tis­garh, on Satur­day.

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