Raipur: In a major setback for the Congress in poll-bound Chhattisgarh, the state party's Working President and a key tribal leader Ramdayal Uike joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday.
Uike, a four time MLA, joined the BJP in Bilaspur in presence of BJP President Amit Shah, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and BJP state President Dharamlal Kaushik.
"I was feeling suffocated in Congress," Uike told the media.
The Congress which is out of power in the mineral-rich state since 2003, has expressed shock over Uike's decision.
Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress President Bhupesh Baghel has termed it "shocking, disgusting and a classic example of politics of opportunism".
Uike was a BJP legislator from Marwahi seat in 2000 when the state was formed by splitting up Madhya Pradesh.
He later switched to Congress along with 11 other BJP legislators when Ajit Jogi was heading the Congress government in the state.
Uike was winning from Korba district's Pali-Tanakhar seat for the past three Assembly elections as a Congress candidate.