Mizoram Legislative Assembly Speaker and senior Congress leader Hiphei resigned from his post, the House as well as the Congress on Monday, and joined the BJP, saying that its central leadership has promised to enhance powers of the state's autonomous district councils.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has promised amendment to the sixth schedule of the Constitution to enable greater autonomy to the autonomous district councils in Mizoram, he told reporters.
Hiphei said Singh has also assured him of a provision for direct funding to these councils without routing funds through the state government.
"The BJP and its coalition partners will form the government in Mizoram," he said, adding that the ruling Congress would be defeated in the polls.
He hoped that the BJP would bag at least five seats in the polls to the 40-member Mizoram legislature to be held on November 28.
Hiphei is the fifth Congress MLA in Mizoram, the only state in the northeast under the party's rule, to resign from the House since September.
On Monday morning, the seven-time former Congress legislator said he had submitted his resignation letter as the speaker to Deputy Speaker R Lalrinawma who accepted it.
From there, he went to Congress Bhavan and resigned from primary membership of the Congress.
Hiphei said he fell out of favour of Chief Minister and Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Lal Thanhawla as he was kept in an uncertain situation even after the AICC had announced his name to contest the coming state assembly polls from his home turf, Palak seat in Siaha district.
Though it would be formally announced on Tuesday, he said he would be contesting from the Palak constituency on a BJP ticket.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit the state on November 18 to campaign for the saffron party.
In Guwahati, convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "He (Hiphei) is a very senior leader. His joining the saffron party will greatly strengthen the organisation."
Hiphei was elected to the Mizoram Assembly from Palak constituency in 2013. He won the state elections six times between 1972 and 1989 from Tuipang.