Rao Uday Pratap Singh, Congress MP from Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh, today quit Congress and joined the BJP, accusing senior state Congress leaders of taking money in exchange for assembly election tickets.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Chouhan made the announcement before reporters at BJP office where he and Rao arrived in the morning in an SUV along with state BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar.
Many Congress workers loyal to Rao such as Congress president of Narsinghpur district Mahendra Patel also joined the BJP.
“There has been corruption in the party for the past four years or so in ticket distribution. But the situation reached the tipping point when even big politicians took money to give tickets to favourites,” Rao told the reporters.
Rao said Manak Agarwal, a Congress leader, had accused senior Congress leader Suresh Pachouri of corruption in distribution of tickets.
He said the Congress leadership never took notice of such charges leveled against Pachouri when he was the state Congress president.
Reacting to the development, state Congress spokesperson JP Dhanopia said, “He (Rao) first became an MLA and then an MP within just six months. This is how the party rewarded him. He must tell if he gave money to party leaders to get tickets. He has betrayed his organisation.”
A resident of Narsinghpur district, Rao was elected to the state assembly from Tendukheda seat in 2008 assembly elections. Six months later, Pachouri is learnt to have helped him in getting Lok Sabha ticket from Hoshangabad. He defeated Madhya Pradesh forest minister and five-time MP Sartaj Singh of BJP by a margin of 19,245 votes.
As per Congress leaders, the MP had of late defected to Kamal Nath camp within the party. He was peeved at the party affairs as he couldn’t have his say in ticket distribution in his parliamentary constituency for the assembly elections and even his opponents within the party got tickets.
His defection will arm the BJP in its offensive against the Congress in Hoshangabad, where Congress has four out of the eight assembly segments. In Rao’s native Narsinghpur district Congress had won all the four assembly seats.
The development blunted the Congress’s media offensive against the ruling party. The state Congress on Wednesday released an advertisement accusing Chouhan’s wife, brother-in-law and brother of corruption but without naming them. The silhouette of CM and his wife in the advertisement was enough to convey the message.