Former BJP MLA Ramesh Saxena and wife Usha join Congress in Madhya Pradesh

The senior BJP politician's switching over to Congress ranks assumes significance, as it happened on the eve of BJP's all-important meeting for preparations to Lok Sabha polls on Friday.

Published: 18th January 2019 12:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th January 2019 12:41 AM   |  A+A-

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For representational purposes (File | PTI)

Express News Service

BHOPAL: A senior BJP politician Ramesh Saxena, who once advised farmers to chant Hanuman Chalisa to fight against natural disasters and inclement weather, joined the ruling Congress in Bhopal on Thursday evening.

Addressing the occasion, CM Kamal Nath said: "many more BJP politicians and MLAs are in touch with us."

Saxena, who is four-time former MLA from Sehore seat of ex-CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan's home district Sehore, joined the Congress in presence of chief minister Kamal Nath and Congress national general secretary in-charge for Madhya Pradesh state Deepak Babaria.

The senior BJP politician's switching over to Congress ranks assumes significance, as it happened on the eve of BJP's all-important meeting for preparations to Lok Sabha polls on Friday.

The meeting in Bhopal will be attended among others by newly appointed BJP Lok Sabha in-charge for MP state and UP transport minister Swatantra Dev Singh.

Sehore assembly seat which has been represented by Saxena four times in the past is one of eight assembly seats comprising the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, which the Congress hasn't won since 1984.

Saxena didn't join the Congress alone at the state Congress headquarters but was accompanied by wife Usha Saxena (chairperson of Sehore district cooperative bank) Premlata Rathod (BJP Mahila Morcha Sehore unit head) and Sehore district panchayat president Urmilla Maretha.

Saxena, who is the four-time former MLA from Sehore seat had first won the seat as independent in 1993 and subsequently as BJP candidate in 1998, 2003 and 2008. In 2013, his wife Usha Saxena as BJP candidate lost from the same seat to independent candidate Sudesh Rai.

In the November 2018 assembly polls, both Ramesh and Usha Saxena were denied BJP tickets from the same seat, as the sitting MLA Sudesh Rai was fielded by the then ruling BJP from Sehore seat.

Usha contested as independent and polled 26,000-plus votes, finishing third behind BJP candidate Sudesh Rai and Congress candidate Surendra Singh Thakur.

In February 2018, the senior BJP politician Ramesh Saxena had created a flutter with a bizarre suggestion that farmers should chant Hanuman Chalisa to fight against natural calamities and inclement weather which are damaging their standing crops.

After joining the Congress with wife and two other powerful women BJP leaders, Ramesh Saxena recounted his long association with CM Kamal Nath.

"I was always physically with the BJP, but my heart was all for the Congress. I've joined the Congress along with my wife and other leaders, inspired by the CM Kamal Nath, who believes in plain-speak and in action, rather than just making hollow announcements," said Saxena.

Responding to Saxena's compliments, the CM said "Ramesh Saxena was on lease in BJP, which has ended now. When he was a BJP MLA, he met me at least twice in a year. More BJP MLAs are in touch with us, but we won't make the disclosure before media right now," said Nath.

Two days back, while launching a farm loan waiver scheme in Bhopal, the CM had dropped enough hints of BJP MLAs being in touch with him and other Congress leaders.

"Before worrying about our flock, the BJP leaders should be worried about their own house, I think the BJP leaders understand what I'm saying," Nath had said at the launch of the Jai Kisan farm loan waiver scheme.

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