In a setback to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Chhattisgarh, its Raipur Lok Sabha candidate Friday said he would support the Congress nominee from the seat.
Voting will be held in Raipur Lok Sabha seat on April 23.
Addressing a press conference with Congress leaders, the BSP's Khileshwar Kumar Sahu said, "I don't have enough party workers or funds. I have not got any funds from the BSP to contest the polls."
"I like the work of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and so have decided to support Pramod Dubey, the Congress candidate for Raipur Lok Sabha seat," he added.
The BSP, meanwhile, accused the Congress of luring Mr Sahu and demanded that Mr Dubey's candidature be rejected.
"The Congress has lured and pressured the BSP candidate. We stronglycondemnthis act which is a threat to democracy," BSP state chief Hemant Poyam told PTI.
However, this development will not dampen the morale of BSP workers who will continue to campaign for the party in Raipur constituency, Mr Poyam added.
The Mayawati-led party wrote a letter to the state'' chief electoral officer demanding that Mr Dubey be barred from contesting the Lok Sabha polls for "horse trading".
It also sought an FIR against Mr Dubey and Mr Sahu.
The BSP's demand was supported by the BJP.
"Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel should reveal at what price the deal (to lure Sahu) was struck. Will Baghel set up a special investigation team to probe this," BJP state spokesperson and MLA Shivratan Sharma said.
He said the EC should take action in order to prevent the "horse trading culture" of the Congress.
The BJP, in a letter to poll authorities, said the expenses incurred by Sahu during the campaign should be added to Mr Dubey's account.
Congress spokesperson Sushil Anand Shukla, however, refuted the allegations and said Sahu voluntarily decided to support the party, adding that his party had not inducted the latter as yet.
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