BJP MLA joins Congress ahead of Madhya Pradesh polls

In a setback to the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh ahead of the Assembly polls next month, a party MLA today joined the Congress along with his 17 supporters.

Devendra Patel, MLA from Silwani in Madhya Pradesh's Raisen district, told reporters that he had contested on Bharatiya Janashakti Party ticket in 2008, and after the party's founder Uma Bharti joined BJP, the party merged with BJP.

Patel said that he was being "ignored by BJP on almost every issue" and because of this he was forced to leave the party.

He also said that he left BJP as he had been inspired by policies and thinking of leaders like Pt Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel.

To a question, he said it is not necessary for him to contest from Silwani on a Congress ticket.

He would work for the Congress even if the party did not give him a ticket for next month's Assembly elections, Patel said.

Those who joined the Congress along with Patel included local leaders belonging to the Lodhi community.

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