Congress MLA from Madhya Pradesh’s Barwaha constituency Sachin Birla joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday. He was inducted into the party at a rally of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bedia village of Khargone district.

Birla’s move came days ahead of the October 30 bye-polls to the Khandwa Lok Sabha seat and three Assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh. Birla’s Barwaha Assembly seat falls under the Khandwa constituency.

Birla is the 27th sitting Congress MLA to have joined the BJP since the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh collapsed in March last year. The Nath-led Congress government had lost majority after 22 MLAs of the party defected to the BJP.

Four more Congress MLAs had joined the BJP later.

Addressing the rally in Bedia on Sunday, Birla claimed that he switched over to the BJP as he was “feeling suffocated” in the Congress, The Indian Express reported.

In a tweet, Chouhan commended Birla, saying he had the zeal to serve the people of the state.

“Birla ji was tired of doing the rounds during Congress regime,” he said in a tweet. “He used to urge Kamal Nath to provide water [for irrigation] from the Narmada river, to expand the Mirchi Mandi [a wholesale market in Khargone district], but he would say there is no money.”

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh refused to read much into Birla’s defection.

“Jo bikau maal hai voh bikega, jo tikau maal hai voh tikega (what’s for sale will sell, what’s durable will last),” he told reporters on Sunday, according to NDTV.