Former BJP Minister Deepak Joshi Joins Congress

In a setback to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh months before Assembly elections, senior party leader and former minister Deepak Joshi joined the Congress on Saturday.

Deepak Joshi, son of former chief minister late Kailash Joshi, joined the party in the presence of state Congress chief Kamal Nath at the Congress headquarters here.

Earlier in the day, another former BJP legislator Radhelal Baghel also joined the Congress in Kamal Nath's presence.

Talking to reporters afterwards, Mr Joshi alleged that when he needed to admit his wife to a hospital in Indore after she contracted coronavirus infection, he received no help from the administrative machinery and eventually she died.

No reaction to the allegation was available from the government's side.

He also accused the BJP government of ignoring the legacy of his late father.

Deepak Joshi, aged around 60 and a three-time MLA, entered the Assembly for the first time from Bagli in Dewas district in 2003 and later won from Hatpiplya seat in the same district in 2008 and 2013.

After his third election victory, he joined Shivraj Singh Chouhan's cabinet and remained its member till 2018.

He lost the Assembly election in 2018 from Hatpiplya to Congress candidate Manoj Choudhary.

Manoj Choudhary joined the BJP in 2020 and won again from Hatpiplya in the subsequent bypoll. He was among the Congress MLAs who switched loyalty to the BJP along with Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Deepak Joshi remained largely sidelined in the saffron outfit after 2018.

Assembly elections are due in Madhya Pradesh later this year.

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