Congress MLA and Mizoram Assembly Speaker Hiphei on Monday resigned from his post, the house as well as from the party, before joining the Bharatiya Janata Party, PTI reported. The state is set to have Assembly elections on November 28.

Hiphei said he submitted his resignation letter to Deputy Speaker R Lalrinawma. He then went to the Congress Bhavan in Aizawl to resign from the party’s primary membership. The 81-year-old was elected from Palak constituency in Siaha district in 2013.

Initially, the Congress had included Hiphei as its official candidate from Palak but dropped him after six members of the Mara Autonomous District Council opposed the candidature. The Congress named KT Rokhaw its official candidate for Palak.

BJP leader and North East Democratic Alliance convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati had earlier said that Hiphei will join the party in Aizawl. “He is a very senior leader,” said Sarma. “His joining the saffron party will greatly strengthen the organisation.”

Hiphei became the fifth Congress legislator to have quit the party since September. Mizoram Home Minister R Lalzirliana resigned from the state Cabinet after the Congress issued him a showcause notice over reports that he could join another party. Congress general secretary Lalrinliana Sailo quit the party and joined the Mizo National Front on October 3.

BD Chakma joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and will contest from Tuichawng, while Hmingdailova Khiangte will fight from his home constituency of Tuirial as an Independent.