This would have been one of the shortest stints of an individual in a political party in India. Padmini Reddy, wife of senior Telangana Congress leader C Damodar Rajanarasimha, was with the Congress in the morning, joined the BJP at around noon today only to be back in the Congress a little after 9 PM.
Ms Reddy's husband C Damodar Rajanarasimha was the deputy chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh in the Congress government headed by N Kiran Kumar Reddy. He is presently the in-charge of the party's manifesto committee for the Telangana elections.
Given Mr Rajanarasimha's seniority, Ms Reddy's shift to the BJP was an embarrassment for the Congress. Naturally, the BJP considered her a prize catch and she was welcomed into the party by top leaders like Telangana BJP president K Laxman and BJP national general secretary V Muralidhar Rao.
Soon after Ms Reddy joined the BJP, Mr Rao tweeted pictures of her induction and wrote, "Impressed by the work of PM Narendra Modi ji, senior Congress leader Smt Padmini Reddy joined BJP today in Hyderabad (Telangana)".
Telangana BJP president K Laxman claimed that Ms Reddy had joined the party as she was impressed by the way Prime Minister Narendra Modi had worked towards empowering women, especially by appointing women in key positions.
"Padmini Reddy has made a name for herself with her social work in Medak region, especially among women...Her joining the BJP will strengthen the party," he further said.
However, the BJP's joy proved to be short-lived. By late evening, Ms Reddy went back to the Congress.
She said that she decided to return as "party workers were feeling hurt" with her departure.
An embarrassed BJP tried to save face by saying that the party "respects Padmini Reddy's decision".
"Padmini Reddy is an educated and well-informed woman. BJP is a party which respects and believes in women's empowerment. When she approached BJP to join and work for the party, certainly we couldn't have asked her to get her husband's permission. We respect Padmini Reddy's decision either way. This only exemplifies BJP's respect for women," Telangana BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao wrote on Twitter.
Voting will take place in all the 119 constituencies of Telangana on December 7.
With inputs from Press Trust of India
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