Lok Sabha polls: Nearly a quarter of BJP candidates are defectors | India News

Leaders who have changed allegiances being given a ticket to contest the elections is nothing new in Indian politics, but the scale at which this has happened with BJP’s list for Lok Sabha polls is unusual. Almost a quarter of the list, or 106 of the 435, consists of those who have switched to the saffron party at some point in the last 10 years. Of them, 90 joined BJP in the last five years.
The highest proportion of such candidates is in Andhra Pradesh, where BJP has put up six candidates. All but one of them has come from another party between 2019 and now. That includes switches not only from Congress and YSRCP, but ironically even from its current ally, TDP.
In neighbouring Telangana, nearly two-thirds of the BJP’s 17 candidates are imports from other parties, mainly BRS but also Congress. Six of the 11 such candidates have joined BJP in the run-up to these elections.
While Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are states where BJP has had at best a limited presence in the past, even in Haryana, where it has been helping the state govt for a decade, six of its 10 candidates are those who have switched sides from 2014 onwards. Two of them — Naveen Jindal and Ashok Tanwar — joined in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls.

Untitled design (37)

Next door, in Punjab over half the party’s 13 candidates have been drawn from those who were in other parties till not too long back. Some of them were in Congress but quit along with Amarinder Singh and became part of BJP when he merged his fledgling outfit with the saffron party.
Jharkhand is similar to Punjab with seven of the 13 having been members of other parties till a decade or less back. In this case, the imports are from JMM, Congress and the erstwhile Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, the most high-profile of them being Sita Soren, sister-in-law of the state’s former chief minister, Hemant Soren.
Perhaps the most surprising among the states with a high proportion of candidates who have sitched sides is Uttar Pradesh, where BJP has been dominant in elections over the last decade, be it parliamentary polls or state assembly. Of the 74 BJP candidates here (not including one ally contesting on the party’s symbol), 23 have joined BJP sometime between 2014 and now. That’s 31% of the party’s candidates in the state.

Untitled design (38)

A high proportion of such candidates in Odisha (29%) and Tamil Nadu (26%) is not very surprising, given that these are not traditional strongholds of BJP. A quarter of the candidates in Maharashtra being those who’ve switched sides is arguably symptomatic of the considerable churn that the state’s politics has witnessed, particularly over the last five years.
West Bengal has a similar proportion of such candidates as Maharashtra, but all other states have lower proportions. Yet, even the ultimate BJP stronghold, Gujarat, has two candidates who have moved to the party since 2014.
This analysis excludes allies contesting on BJP tickets. It does include five cases of what might be termed “gharwapsi” — BJP members who had moved to other parties but have since come homing back to where they started from. The five include Jagdish Shettar in Karnataka, Udayanraje Bhonsale in Maharashtra and Sakshi Maharaj in Uttar Pradesh.

Source link