Congress Chhattisgarh working president Ramdayal Uike on Saturday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, IANS reported. The move comes a month ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, where the first phase of voting will take place on November 12 and the second phase on November 20.

Uike, a former MLA from Pali-Tanakhar, was inducted into the party by BJP President Amit Shah, Chief Minister Raman Singh and other leaders in Bilaspur. Shah is currently on a two-day visit to the state. “Tribal leaders are neglected and not favoured in the Congress,” said Uike. “There is a difference in what they say and what they do.”

Uike, who was a member of the BJP before joining the Congress in 2000, described the induction as “ghar vapasi” (homecoming), reported The Indian Express.

Expressing surprise at the switch, state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel said it is not uncommon for politicians to change parties during the election season, reported NDTV. “We met a few days ago but Ramdayal Uike did not say anything,” said Baghel.

The Congress election decision-making body, chaired by party president Rahul Gandhi, on Friday finalised the candidates for Chhattisgarh polls. According to reports, their names are expected to be announced in a day or two.