Jolt for Cong in MP, former minister joins BJP

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Bhopal, Oct 13 (UNI) Ahead of assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress received a severe jolt with tribal leader and former minister Prem Narayan Thakur joining the BJP in the state capital today.

Mr Thakur took the membership of the BJP in the presence of state BJP President Narendra Singh Tomar and other party-office bearers at the state party headquarters here.

''I have taken the decision to quit the Congress, with a heavy heart, due to continuous neglect by the party. However, I am glad that the BJP supported me,'' he told reporters after taking the membership.

Amid volley of questions, Mr Thakur initially refrained from commenting upon Union Minister Kamal Nath but later said he regretted that he was not able to gain confidence of Mr Kamal Nath even after 28 years.

The former Transport Minister said he did not wish to speak much today but he would disclose all aspects related to quitting the Congress very soon.

''I was a Congress soldier from 1980 to October 8, 2008.

Fighting between continuous neglect and self-respect, I had to take the decision,'' he said.

Mr Thakur, who had announced the decision to quit the Congress on October 8, said he met Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other BJP leaders yesterday. He said he was grateful that the BJP accepted him.

The ex-Amarwada legislator said he was neglected during the Chhindwara convention two months back, while Gondwana Ganatantra Party leader Dayal Singh Tumrachi was given full importance.

He has not been given responsibility for even block-level Congress committee in the past three-four years.

On whether he would be provided ticket by the BJP during the upcoming assembly polls, he diplomatically replied that the situation would be clear in the coming time.

However, Mr Tomar said, selection of candidates would be done by the party election committee on all 230 seats in the state. The decision to provide ticket to Mr Thakur would be taken by the committee.

Welcoming Mr Thakur into the BJP-fold, Mr Tomar said the Congress had failed to protect self-respect of tribals and promote their welfare.

He hinted that some more Congress leaders may join the BJP in near future.

UNI PKJ-PS 1310

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