Mizoram Assembly Speaker Hiphei resigned from his post today, both in the the state assembly as well as the Congress, and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. His move comes little over three weeks before assembly elections in the northeastern state.
The seven-time Congress legislator said he submitted his resignation letter to Deputy Speaker R. Lalrinawma who accepted it. From there, he went to Congress Bhavan to resign as his primary membership of the party.
He is the fifth Congress MLA to resign from the 40-member House since September.
Mizoram, the only state in the northeast under Congress rule, will go to the polls on November 28.
In Guwahati, convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma had announced 81-year-old Mr Hiphei joining the BJP.
"He is a very senior leader. His joining the BJP will greatly strengthen the organisation," Mr Sarma, who is also Assam finance minister, said.
The senior BJP leader, however, did not comment on whether the party will field Mr Hiphei from any constituency in the forthcoming Assembly election in the hill state.
The Congress had earlier named Mr Hiphhei as its candidate for the Palak constituency, but replaced him with party general secretary KT Rokhaw last week following reports that he might move to the BJP.
Mr Hiphei was elected to the Mizoram Assembly from Palak constituency in 2013. He won the state elections six times between 1972 and 1989 from Tuipang.