By Bhavana ‘Aparajita'
Giving a jolt to the ruling BJP in the State, veteran BJP leader and two-time former MLA Girija Shankar Sharma joined the Congress on Sunday. As ‘The Hitavada’ had reported the news ‘More Switchover impending..’ on September 9, the story mentioned that Giriraj Sharma is in touch with the Congress leaders and on Sunday another prominent BJP leader entered the Congress fold. He joined the Congress in presence of Congress State President and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath. Along with Sharma, hundreds of his supporters also left the ruling saffron party and joined the opposition. Giriraj Sharma belongs to a family dedicated to BJP for decades. Girija Shankar Sharma and his younger brother Sitasaran Sharma have won Hoshangabad Assembly seat (formerly Itarsi seat) seven times in a row for the BJP since 1990 to 2018. He had won the seat in 2003 and 2008.
Sitasaran Sharma won the seat five times. Sitasaran Sharma holds the State Assembly speaker’s post earlier. When the elections are just two months away, Sharma’s decision has surprised many. On September 1, Sharma resigned from the BJP and joined the Congress. While resigning from the party, Sharma accused BJP leaders saying after new leaders joined the party the loyal workers of the party are being ignored. He also ensured that BJP candidates do not win from the seat, as the return of the present government is not in the State’s larger interest. Since 1990, Sharma family’s influence in Hoshangabad region can be seen. With this switchover, around four constituency’s fall under this division may get impacted.
On Sunday, after performing Maa Narmada puja, Sharma started for Bhopal. Pradesh Congress Chief Kamal Nath welcomed the BJP leaders into the Congress fold and gave them membership of the party in Bhopal. Responding to ‘The Hitavada’s’ question about switchover, BJP leader said, “People come and go during elections and in a democracy, everyone has the right to make their own decisions.” With this more than 10 BJP leaders, including four senior and strong leaders have joined the Congress party in a couple of months. At the same time, former Chief Minister Kamal Nath has made it clear saying, “Many BJP leaders are in touch with me. Be it Scindia supporters or other leaders of the BJP, they will get entry into the Congress only if our local organisation agrees.”