Congress MP from Hoshangabad Udai Pratap Singh quit the party on Thursday and joined the BJP, claiming that there was no internal democracy in the Congress and the party was being run on the whims and fancies of a select few.
“The high command was ignoring me repeatedly. Recently, I along with five MPs of Madhya Pradesh went to meet Rahul Gandhi, but despite waiting for one hour outside his gate, no one met us. Even Kanishka Singh ignored us,” Singh told Express.
“Till how long can we accept this kind of behaviour. Are we ordinary labourers who can be asked to wait at the gate and then told to come some other day?” he asked.
When asked why this feeling of being ignored had come so close to the elections, he claimed that even when the party manifesto was being prepared, the MPs were not consulted. “A state election is fought by keeping everyone in loop. Suddenly, I was told that the manifesto has been prepared. No inputs from the workers, who are the most important constituent of any party, were taken. Some selected leaders met and decided about the content of the manifesto”, he added.
Congress sources said that during ticket distribution, the candidates backed by Singh were ignored. Singh had won the 2009 Assembly election by defeating senior BJP leader Sartaj Singh. Hoshangabad is traditionally a BJP bastion and except the last election, it had elected BJP candidates since 1989.
According to Singh, it was he who approached the BJP and requested the party to take him. “On Wednesday night I spoke to CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan for just two minutes and told him I wanted to join the BJP. He said ‘welcome’ and I joined the party today,” he said.
However, he denied contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket.
Union minister Harish Rawat told Express that the party was not worried about Singh and they have other capable leaders in the district. “His leaving the party will not have any adverse impact on our performance in the Assembly elections. Let the result come out”, he said.
“The party did so much for him but he ran away to the enemy camp. He thinks that he will be rewarded by the BJP,” said state Congress vice-president Rameshwar Neekhra.