Narayan Tripathi became the third Congress MLA in Madhya Pradesh to defect to the BJP in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. The announcement of the Maihar legislator joining the party was made at a rally of Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan in Churhata village in Satna district on Tuesday, although formal acceptance of his application form was yet to take place.

Mr. Tripathi said: “Brahmins who work for the Congress are being viewed with suspicion. Ajay Singh [former Minister] is humiliating Brahmins and I left because I felt stifled.” Mr. Ajay Singh, a Rajput, is the Congress candidate from Satna as is his BJP opponent Ganesh Singh.

Earlier this month, two Congress MLAs, Sanjay Pathak, also a Brahmin, and Dinesh Ahirwar defected to the BJP. Last month Congress candidate from Bhind, the former State Home Secretary Bhagirath Prasad, joined the BJP and got party ticket to fight from that constituency. Before the Assembly polls last year, Congress MP Rao Uday Pratap Singh also joined the BJP and is now contesting on its ticket from Hoshangabad. The wave of defections began last year with that of Rakesh Chaturvedi, former deputy leader of the Congress in the Assembly, followed by the former BSP MLA, Paras Ram Mudgal. Both are Brahmins.

According to BJP sources, Brahmin consolidation in Chambal and Bundelkhand is a strategy being engineered by Rajya Sabha MP Prabhat Jha and State Minister Narottam Mishra.

Opposition Leader Satyadev Katare said: “In democracy no one can be tied down if their ideology has changed. This will not affect the Congress and we will function as we are now.”

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