Bhopal, Aug 16: Hours after he was suspended from Congress, former MLA Nishith Patel today joined the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh and accused the main Opposition party of neglecting the poor and tribals. Patel joined the saffron outfit in the presence of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar at a by-poll rally in Barhi under Bahoriband Assembly constituency in Katni district, about 300km from here.

“I am joining BJP after watching the party’s dedication towards people. I am impressed by its commitment for welfare of the common man,” Patel said on the occasion. Patel said he was influenced by the personality of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chouhan.

Criticising Congress, he said the party had always left tribals, the poor and farmers in lurch after elections. Earlier in the day, Congress suspended Patel for participating in “anti-party” activities. State Congress President Arun Yadav has suspended Patel for his “anti-party” activities, party spokesman K K Mishra told reporters.

Patel had been allegedly working against Sourabh Singh, the Congress candidate from Bahoriband, where bypoll will be held onAugust 21 along with two other seats in the State. Yadav took action against Patel on the basis of a complaint received from Singh, Mishra said.

Patel is the son of former Congress Minister Shravan Patel, who is considered close to senior party leader and MP Jyotirdaitya Scindia. Patel fought the 2013 Assembly polls from Bahoriband as Congress nominee but lost to Prabhat Pandey of BJP. The bypoll has been necessitated following the death of Pandey.

For the bypoll, Congress gave ticket to Singh, who joined the party after leaving BSP. Patel had been opposing Singh’s candidature from Bahoriband.