Shillong: In a setback for the ruling Congress ahead of the state assembly election, a senior Meghalaya lawmaker Alexander Hek and three other legislators will join the Bharatiya Janata Party today.
Former health minister AL Hek, NCP's Sanbor Shullai and two Independent legislators - Justine Dkhar and Robinus Syngkon - will officially join the BJP at a rally in Shillong this evening in presence of the BJP election in-charge and Union Minister KJ Alphons and the party's north-east in-charge, Ram Madhav, state BJP president Shibun Lyngdoh said.
"I will put in my resignation, before joining the BJP in the afternoon (tomorrow), along with my friends," Mr Hek told PTI on Monday.
"It will be homecoming," said Mr Hek, who had left the BJP in 2009 and joined Congress and was state health minister till last year. He insisted it was the BJP's "sabka saath sabka vikas" agenda and anti-corruption stand that appeals to him.
The development comes days after five Congress legislators, including former deputy chief minister Rowell Lyngdoh, resigned from the assembly and announced that they would join the National People's Party (NPP), an ally of the BJP in the NDA, on January 4.
Along with them, three other legislators -- one from the UDF and two Independents -- have also decided to cross over to the NPP, headed by Conrad K Sangma, the son of former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma.
The decision of the Congress legislators to defect ahead of the assembly polls in the north-eastern state comes as a blow for the Congress, which is facing a tough challenge to hold its fort.
Congress' new president Rahul Gandhi had, on Saturday last, appointed Celestine Lyngdoh as the new chief of the party's Meghalaya unit, replacing DD Lapang, who was made an adviser to the state unit.
Mr Lyngdoh is a minister in Chief Minister Mukul Sangma's cabinet.
Rahul Gandhi had also appointed Vincent H Pala as the working president of the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee. Mr Hek's decision to quit the Congress will leave the ruling party with 23 legislators, from 30 originally, in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly.