Raipur: In a big blow to state Congress ahead of assembly polls, Chhattisgarh Congress working president Ram Dayal Uike has joined Bharatiya Janata Party after 18 years. Uike met BJP President Amit Shah ahead of his public rally in Bastar. Chief minister Raman Singh was also present at the meeting. Shah is on a two-day visit to the state.

Uike is a sitting MLA of Pali-Tanakhar since 2013 and has a huge influence in the  Naxal-dominated tribal regions of Chhattisgarh. He was elected MLA of Pali Tanakhar after winning with a margin of over 28,000 votes. He was appointed Congress Working President in January this year. He had left the BJP in 2000 and was inducted into the Congress by Ajit Jogi.

Sources said Congress ignored his contributions in the state. Recently, the party constituted seven working committees ahead of the state polls on November 12. Uike is reportedly not part of any committee.

“I have never got my worth as an Adivasi leader in Congress. I m glad I am back in BJP,” Uike said after meeting Shah.

In what can be termed as a big blow to Congress in Chhattisgarh, it's state Working President joined BJP ahead of 's meeting in.

Uike is not only the working President but also an MLA. He weild huge influence in Maoist. Interestingly Amit Shah himself welcomed him by offering a saffron scarf that is nothing less than sending a message to congress before he addresses booth level meeting of BJP cadres in the Bastar region. Apart from Shah, chief minister Raman Singh, who Uike has been fighting so far on behalf of Congress was also present.

Chhattisgarh has traditionally seen a neck to neck battle. Last assembly election, BJP got 41%, whereas Congress got 40.3%. A one percent swing either way can be a turning point. With Uike joining hands with BJP just before assembly elections, the party has surely taken a crucial step. 

During his visit, Shah plans to meet Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati in Bilaspur, where she is campaigning for the BSP-Chhattisgarh Janata Congress (CJC) alliance.

(With agency inputs)