In a politically significant development in Rajasthan, all six BSP MLAs on Monday night gave a letter to the state assembly speaker to merge the legislative party with the Congress.
"The BSP MLAs met me and handed their letter about this," Speaker C P Joshi told PTI.
MLAs Rajendra Singh Gudha, Jogendra Singh Awana, Wajib Ali, Lakhan Singh Meena, Sandeep Yadav and Deepchand said they were merging their legislative party with the Congress.
"All the six BSP MLAs were in constant touch with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and today they have come into the fold of the Congress," a Congress leader said.
Aghast at the defections, BSP President Mayawati on Tuesday hit out at the Congress, saying the party has once again proved that it is "unreliable" and "untrustworthy".
In a tweet, Mayawati said, "The Congress government in Rajasthan has once again broken BSP MLAs and proved that is an unreliable and untrustworthy party."
Terming it as a "betrayal", Mayawati said it comes at a time when the BSP was extending unconditional outside support to the Congress.
"Congress, instead of fighting against its bitter opponents and organisations always work to harm those parties which cooperate/support them. The Congress is thus an anti-SC/ST OBC party and has never been sincere and honest about the right to reservation of these classes," she said in another tweet.
The development came ahead of civic body polls and by-polls for two assembly seats.
The Rajasthan Assembly has 200 seats. The Congress has 100 MLAs and its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has one MLA, giving it the majority to run the government. The Congress has also the outside support of 12 out of total 13 independent MLAs. Two seats are vacant.
In 2009, during Gehlot's earlier tenure, all the six BSP MLAs had also defected to Congress. That time, the government was five short of a clear majority.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine