RAIPUR: Ahead of the proposed tour of BJP national president Amit Shah to Maoist-affected Bastar early next month, the ruling party in Chhattisgarh received a jolt when 25 of its senior workers joined Congress in Bijapur district.
Shah is slated to visit Chhattisgarh for three days from June 9 and is scheduled to spend a day in Bastar as part of his 95-day nationwide tour to strengthen the party’s base, party sources said. With 12 Assembly seats, Bastar is key to government formation in Chhattisgarh.
BJP had won nine and 11 seats in 2003 and 2008 State polls respectively. The State election is due next year.
In 2013, the BJP won just four seats in Bastar out of seven districts and suffered a debacle in the Panchayat polls.
Mandhar Nag, former Nagar Panchayat president in Bijapur who joined the Congress, pointed out the “simmering internal bickering and neglect within the BJP in the district has disenchanted the party cadre”.
“We worked hard to ensure BJP leader Mahesh Gagda gets the maximum support from remote interior areas during elections where it was difficult for him to go due to Naxal presence. But now he is reluctant to conduct development works in those areas where people have overwhelmingly voted for him. This is affecting our credibility too. So we decided to quit,” he said.
The concern for the ruling BJP are the tribals who left the party as they have considerable sway in their areas. According to sources in Bijapur, many more are preparing to leave the party in the coming days.
“At least 30 more have made up their minds to join the Congress. They are away attending marriages and other ceremonial functions of their relatives. Gagda is an opportunistic leader. He deceived the innocent tribals through false promises and got elected. So the BJP cadres in villages are leaving his party,” said Sattar Ali, the Congress party in-charge of the district.