Four Meghalaya legislators, including Congress’ Alexander Hek, on Tuesday resigned as members of the Meghalaya Assembly and joined the BJP ahead of elections slated next month.

The ninth Meghalaya Assembly, comprising 60 members, was constituted on March 1, 2013, and its term expires on March 6 next year.

Hek is a former BJP-turned Congress legislator, who had served as a former Health and Family Welfare Minister in the Mukul Sangma cabinet before being sacked last year to calm the rebellion within the Congress Legislature party.

The other three who quit include former Deputy Speaker Sanbor Shullai of the Nationalist Congress Party, besides two Independent legislators – – Robinus Syngkon and Justine Dkhar.

With the latest resignation of four, the strength of the ruling Congress has been reduced to 23 from 30 members in the truncated 48-member assembly following the resignations. The actual strength of Meghalaya assembly is 60.

However, Mukul Sangma is expected to complete his five-year term as Chief Minister with the support of one Nationalist Congress Party legislator, one member from the North-East Democratic Socialist Party and five independent legislators supporting the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government.

Soon after submitting their resignation letter to Assembly Speaker, Abu Taher Mondal, the four were formally inducted as members of the BJP at a public meeting held at Golf Link.

Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons, who is also the party’s Meghalaya election in-charge, BJP national general secretary in-charge North East, Ram Madhav, and BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli attended the meeting.

Hek, who had won on a BJP ticket in the 1998, 2003 and 2008 polls and retained his assembly seat on Congress ticket in 2013, said, “The Lotus will bloom again in Meghalaya.”

Welcoming the four former legislators into the BJP fold, BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav said, “We are starting the New Year with a kitty of four MLAs already with elections two months away. We already have four MLAs. I have no doubt about their getting re-elected. Look at the Congress party, they are starting the new year with minus 12 MLAs.”

“Hek is ours and he has been away from us for five years. It is a ghar wapsi for him (Hek) and other friends are coming to a comfortable house and they will feel at home in the BJP,” the former RSS spokesman said.

Hinting that more legislators are joining the BJP in Meghalaya, Madhav said, “All those people who want a good change in Meghalaya should join BJP. Come to BJP; support BJP, because it is time to join the BJP because it is time for bringing change in Meghalaya.”

“BJP is the present and future of India. Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) came two weeks back here. He gave a clarion call to the people of Meghalaya that it is time for change in Meghalaya and it is time for BJP. Meghalaya is a paradise on earth, but it is underdeveloped, backward and corrupt. This has to change, and it is time to change,” the BJP leader said.

Alphons said that there would be “huge exodus” from the Congress party.

Last month, nine sitting legislators, including six from the ruling Congress, resigned from the state Assembly to contest the polls on the ticket of National People’s Party (NPP), which is a part of the NDA.

Former Congress legislator P.N. Syiem, who is also the chief executive of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, resigned from the Assembly and joined the newly floated People’s Democratic Front.

The other five former Congress legislators — Rowell Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, Coming One Ymbon, Sniawbhalang Dhar and Ngaitlang Dhar — along with former United Democratic Party legislator Remington Pyngrope and Independents Hopeful Bamon and Stephanson Mukhim, will formally join the NPP on January 4 at a public meeting.