In a big setback to Bhartiya Janta Party ahead of the Madhya Pradesh polls, two of its MLAs on Tuesday joined hands with the Congress.
Desperate for a comeback, the Congress which has been out of power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003, roped in Sanjay Sharma, a sitting BJP MLA from Tendu Kheda, during Rahul Gandhi’s two-day visit to the Malwa-Nimar region. BJP leader Kamlapat Arya from Chambal area also joined the party on Tuesday.
Sharma, a two-time MLA, said he was feeling “suffocated” in the BJP and also accused chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of not doing enough for his constituency. He has reportedly been promised a ticket by the Congress.
Sharma is the third richest among the sitting MLAs in MP, having declared assets worth over 60 crore. His induction is being seen as a masterstroke by senior Congress leader Suresh Pachauri.
Kirar community leader Gulab Singh Kirar, who was named in the Vyapam scam in 2015 along with his son Shakti Singh, was also rumoured to have been extended Congress membership in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi in Indore on Tuesday. While some leaders confirmed Kirar’s induction, chief spokesperson Shobha Oza insisted that only Sanjay Sharma and Kamlapat Arya have been included in the party.
Arya, who was first elected as an MLA from Bhander on Congress ticket, had joined the BJP in 2002. Touted as a ‘power politician’, Arya enjoys a strong ground connect in his constituency. Both Arya and Sharma are said to have been in talks with the Congress since long but the party waited for its chief Rahul Gandhi to visit the State to confirm their induction.