Madhya Pradesh: MLA Rahul Lodhi quits Congress to join BJP ahead of bypolls

In a set back to the Congress party ahead of bypolls, one of its former MLA joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday. Former Congress MLA Rahul Lodhi joined BJP in the presence of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Lodhi had tendered his resignation to Protem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma earlier today. "MLA from Damoh area, Rahul Lodhi has resigned from his post which has been accepted," Rameshwar Shama tweeted.

"I have worked with Congress for around 14 months but I couldn't work for the development. All the public welfare schemes have been put to a halt in Damoh. Today I have joined BJP willingly. I am sure that Damoh will touch great heights," said Rahul Lodhi.

By-elections to 28 Assembly seats in the state are scheduled on November 3. Twenty-five of these seats fell vacant after sitting Congress MLAs resigned and joined the BJP, leading to the collapse of the Kamal Nath-led state government.

Most of these rebel Congress MLAs were considered close to Jyotiraditya Scindia, who also walked out of the Congress and joined the BJP. Besides, three seats fell vacant due to the death of their sitting MLAs.

The BJP at present has 107 MLAs and it needs to win just nine more seats to reach the magic figure of 116 - the simple majority mark in the 230-member house. The Congress's strength in the House has now been reduced to 87.

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