- Sharad Kol, Narayan Tripathi voted for the Advocate Protection Act Bill
- Mr Tripathi got in touch with Congress after it won elections: Sources
- At least 4 more BJP legislators set to cross over to Congress: Minister
Two legislators of Madhya Pradesh's opposition BJP, who voted in favour of legislation backed by the Congress government in the assembly on Wednesday, described their surprising move as "gharwapsi" or homecoming.
That is because the BJP's Sharad Kol and Narayan Tripathi are both former Congress leaders.
Defying their party line, they voted for the Congress's Advocate Protection Act Bill - a long-time demand of the lawyers of the state. The bill, drafted 15 years ago, had never made it to the assembly during the three-term BJP government of Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Yesterday, the BJP did not participate in the voting and the bill was passed with 122 votes in its favour.
Talking to journalists after the assembly session, both legislators termed it "ghar-wapsi" (home coming) of sorts.
Narayan Tripathi, a four-time lawmaker from the Maihar seat in Satna, is a turncoat politician who was first elected to the assembly in 2003 as a Samajwadi Party candidate. A year later, Mr Tripathi, who by then became the state party chief, contested the Lok Sabha polls but lost miserably.
In the 2008 assembly polls, he lost as a Samajwadi candidate to the BJP but won in 2013 as a Congress candidate.
In 2015, he switched to the BJP, which was then ruling the state, resigning from the assembly. In 2016, he won the Maihar seat again in by-elections and stayed in the BJP.
In the December Madhya Pradesh election, Mr Tripathi won from Maihar again as a BJP candidate. But in this year's Lok Sabha election, he was believed to have worked against three-time BJP parliamentarian Ganesh Singh, who however, won from the Satna seat.
Sources in the Congress said Mr Tripathi got in touch with the party leadership after the BJP lost power in the state.
Sharad Kol, the BJP legislator from Beohari seat of Shahdol district, also belonged to the Congress in the past. The son of Congress leader Jugul Kol, he became a member of the Shahdol district panchayat on a Congress ticket.
He quit the Congress in October last year, weeks before the assembly polls, and won as a BJP candidate.
Madhya Pradesh mining minister Pradeep Jaiswal, who is among the four independent legislators supporting the Kamal Nath government, says at least four more BJP legislators will soon cross over to the Congress.
The support of the two BJP members is sweet revenge for the Congress six years after Chaudhary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi - its deputy leader of opposition - crossed over to then ruling BJP just before the Congress moved a no trust vote against the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.
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