BHOPAL: In a significant political development just six days prior the by-election to Jhabua assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh, Narayan Tripathi – one of the two BJP MLAs who voted along with ruling Congress and allies MLAs on an amendment bill in Vidhan Sabha on July 24 – announced on Tuesday that he was still part of the saffron party.
The development took place a fortnight after the other BJP MLA Sharad Kol too had made similar announcement of being part of the BJP.
In a sudden turn of events, the four-time legislator from Maihar seat of Satna district surfaced at the state BJP HQ in Bhopal and was later accompanied before journalists by senior party leaders, including state BJP president Rakesh Singh and ex-ministers Narottam Mishra and Vishwas Sarang.
“Who says I’ve returned to the BJP, I’d never left the BJP. I was always in the party and will continue to be its part in future also. Just wait and watch, we’ll even change the government, which means we’ll change the Congress government to bring BJP back to power soon in MP,” said Tripathi.
“It was out of sheer confusion that we voted along with Congress and ally MLAs on the passage of the criminal law amendment bill in the Vidhan Sabha on July 24. I’ve been in CM Kamal Nath and other ministers’ touch since long just for the development of my constituency and over issues like making Maihar a district and smart city. I’ll try and fulfil the dreams of my constituency soon with the changed government in the state,” said Tripathi.
A smiling state BJP chief Rakesh Singh said, “Now it’s crystal clear that both Narayan Tripathi and Sharad Kol are with BJP. Narayan Tripathi will be campaigning for the party in the by-election bound Jhabua on Wednesday.”
Reacting to the development, state Congress’ media in-charge Shobha Oza said, “Who says Narayan Tripathi and Sharad Kol had joined the Congress on July 24 or later. They had only voted along with Congress and allied MLAs over the passage of a bill in the Vidhan Sabha. They had supported us on issues and we hope they’ll again back us on other issues when the appropriate time comes.”
On July 24, the two BJP MLAs had voted along with 120 Congress and allied MLAs over the passage of amendment bill in Vidhan Sabha. Importantly, the bill was supported by opposition BJP as well, but the party didn’t want division of votes on it.
However, one of the two BSP MLAs (supporting Kamal Nath government) sought division of votes over the issue, which was permitted by Speaker and the two BJP MLAs too voted with legislators of ruling dispensation.
After the vote, both Tripathi and Kol (who were in Congress in the past) accompanied by CM Kamal Nath had announced their ghar-vapasi (return) to Congress.
Both Tripathi and Kol have been Congressmen in the past. While Kol joined BJP just a few weeks before 2018 assembly polls and won from Beohari seat of Shahdol district, Tripathi, the sitting MLA from Maihar seat of Satna district joined the BJP in early 2016.
Tripathi, particularly has been a quintessential turncoat politician, who won the Maihar seat first time in 2003 as Samajwadi Party candidate, but lost the seat to BJP in 2008. He wrested the seat from BJP in 2013 on a Congress ticket, but resigned nearly three years later to join the BJP in early 2016, before winning the subsequent by-election as the saffron party candidate. In 2018 polls also he won the seat on BJP ticket.