Bhopal, 1 April-2014, Milind Ghatwai: The Congress suffered yet another high-profile defection in Madhya Pradesh Monday with its Vijayraghavgarh MLA Sanjay Pathak joining the BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Pathak had last week embarrassed the Congress by claiming he has funded most of its activities in his area in the last few years
His defection is part of a trend perfected by the BJP especially when elections are round the bend. Ahead of the assembly elections, the BJP had poached sitting Congress MP Rao Uday Pratap Singh, and has fielded him from Hoshangabad. The Congress nominee from Bhind, Bhagirath Prasad, defected to the BJP a day after his candidature was announced; he is now the BJP candidate from Bhind. And last July, deputy leader of the opposition in the assembly Chaudhary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi had defected to the treasury benches on the floor of the house and in the process scuttled a no-confidence motion against the BJP government.
Pathak, the richest legislator in MP, was angry with the Congress for ignoring his opposition to the fielding of Raja Pateria from Khajuraho. Pathak, whose father was a minister in the Digvijaya Singh government, had given his party a deadline to withdraw the nomination.
Only two days ago, he had claimed the Congress was in his DNA. After joining the BJP, he said, “What I said was true but the Congress itself is finished in the state. Five or six leaders are running it as a private limited company.’’
While welcoming Pathak, Chouhan said his entry was not conditional and that he did not seek any post or ticket. Praising Chouhan, Pathak said when the benefits of his schemes reach the last mile, MP will overtake Gujarat in terms of development.
The Congress alleged that Pathak’s defection was dictated by the need to protect his mining empire that has been under stress for the last few years. The Pathaks own iron ore mines in and around Katni district but some of them have closed down and cases are pending in courts. The Congress also claimed Pathak wanted to contest himself. Denying the allegation, Pathak said he would hold a rally in Katni Tuesday where thousands of his supporters will join the BJP.
The two-time MLA declared assets more than Rs 121 crore in the assembly elections. Despite spending from his pocket, Pathak claimed, the Congress continued to insult him by not consulting him during ticket distribution. He slammed the ‘quota system’ in the party, under which leaders allegedly distribute tickets only to their supporters. [Input source: Indian Express ]