In a major embarrassment for the Congress, its candidate from Bhind, Bhagirath Prasad, joined the BJP on Sunday the day after he was declared Congress candidate.
It came as a humiliation for leader of the opposition Satyadev Katare, who had been reassured by Prasad that he would not quit the Congress.
“These are only rumours and I will remain with the Congress,” Katare had been reportedly told by Prasad, a former IAS officer who lost the 2009 election on a Congress ticket to Ashok Argal, one of the MPs who had flashed cash in the Lok Sabha during a trust vote.
On Sunday, the former bureaucrat alleged the Congress suffered from factionalism and was not able to “utilise my experience and talent.’’
He said he hoped the BJP would harness his abilities but insisted “I have never been after money or had ambitions for any post.’’
He took premature retirement in 2007 and served as vice-chancellor of Indore’s Devi Ahilya University for two years before entering politics. He said after spending five years in the Congress he realised the party lacked vision and capability.
“I was always impressed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s style of functioning. With Narendra Modi as the future prime minister I understand the BJP has a lot to offer,’’ said Prasad, and denied allegations from the Congress that he was an opportunist.
The Congress labelled him a traitor and a liar who switched loyalties for money and the Lok Sabha ticket.
The BJP did not confirm or deny whether Prasad would be its official candidate but proved one more time that it could easily outsmart the opposition party at crucial junctures.
In August 2013, it scuttled a no-trust motion the Congress was about to move against the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in the assembly. Just when then leader of the opposition Ajay Singh began to read the motion his deputy Chaudhary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi defected to the ruling party on the floor of the assembly.
Congress MP from Hoshangabad Rao Uday Pratap Singh had resigned and joined the BJP along with many supporters in November after making several allegations against senior Congress leader and former union minister Suresh Pachauri.