In an unprecedented development in Punjab’s recent political history, MLA Joginder Pal Jain resigned from the Congress and the Assembly to join the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, which promptly announced him as their candidate in the coming by-election for the Moga constituency, which he represented.

Citing a “stifling atmosphere” within the Congress, Mr. Jain said he had switched parties as he was impressed by the policies being promoted by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Mr. Jain, who drove to the Akali Dal head office here after Assembly Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal accepted his resignation, was accepted into the party fold by Mr. Badal, who is also the party president.