After the UPA government faced an anti-incumbency during the 2014 elections, the nation witnessed a massive Modi-wave which led the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) to win with a huge mandate. However, with a change in the political scenario, the nation also observed that many leaders from all political parties across took a back seat from their age-old home party and shifted to BJP. However, now again after Modi-led BJP received a major setback in three Hindi heartland state elections, many leaders due to trust factors in the ruling party are leaving BJP either to make a Ghar Wapsi to Congress or even join some other political parties.
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Prashant Hiray, the former Maharashtra minister and Apurva Hiray, former Member of Legislative Council (MLC) from Nashik in December returned to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), deserting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Amid the stir going over corruption in Rafale, a day after BJP lawmaker Ashish Deshmukh met Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Wardha in October, he announced the decision to quit as MLA and submitted his resignation to the Assembly Speaker. Earlier, in November, controversial BJP legislator Anil Gote had announced his resignation from the legislative assembly as well as the party to protest against what he called the “growing criminalisation of the BJP under state BJP President Raosaheb Danve”. In a major setback for Maharashtra BJP, a senior party leader Eknath Khadse in December hinted at an exit from the party. Previously, in 2016, Khadse had to resign as the Maharashtra Revenue Minister amid allegations of involvement in irregularities in a land deal in Pune. Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan had already invited Khadse to join Congress.
In a conversation with AV, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan commented, “It’s evident that the upcoming general election is going to be a noteworthy one and it is also true that many Congress leaders, who had left the party, are now making a comeback. When leaders jump and change their base parties, it impacts their followers. Those who withdrew their support from Congress have now realised that they got no response from outside. We will welcome them back but the party will always give preference to the genuine workers who were there beside the party in its hard times.”
In a major blow to the NDA in Bihar just a few months before the polls this year, Upendra Kushwaha, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief, has resigned as the Union Minister of State (MoS) for Human Resource and Development (HRD) over the BJP’s seat-sharing deal. Former BJP MP Uday Singh, who has represented the Purnea Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar twice, announced his resignation from the party on January this year and hinted at joining the Grand Alliance constituent impressed by Rahul Gandhi and declining popularity of PM Modi.
RJD MP Jay Prakash Yadav mentioned, “There are politicians who go by political ideologies and there are others who go by their decisions. The rest, who maintains both the sides, are the one who never leaves party’s back. Such political side change of the leaders creates massive confusion in the party workers and Nitish Kumar is the one who does politics only for the ‘power chair’.”
A most recent drawback was faced by BJP this year in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Arunachal former chief minister Gegong Apang resigned from the party on January 16 this year, citing disappointment with the present day BJP leadership. Former ministers and BJP functionaries Komoli Mossang and Lichi Legi also joined the Congress in the function attended by PCC chief Takam Sanjoy. Apart from that, BJP MLA Dr. Akula Satyanarayana is all set to join actor-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena party in Andhra Pradesh on January 21. Senior BJP leader Chandrakanta Das, former Vice President of the party, a member of the North Eastern Council resigned from BJP on January 10.
Accusing the state BJP of trying to create a divide in society over the Sabarimala issue, four leaders – BJP state committee member Vellanad Krishnakumar, party’s district leaders Uzhamalackal Jaykumar, Thelicode Surendran, and V Sukumaran resigned from the party in December and evinced interest in joining CPI(M), heading the ruling LDF in Kerala. Meghalaya BJP Minority Morcha chief Sofiur Rahman on January 13 this year announced to resign from the party, citing opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Rahman, a member of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council from Balachanda constituency, claimed that all 21 members of the Morcha would quit the BJP on January 14.
On December 6, 2018, Savitribai Phule, a member of Parliament from the Dalit community, became the latest in the line of departures from the BJP. Four years earlier, Phule was elected from the Lok Sabha constituency of Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh. Phule had joined BJP in 2014 to ensure that atrocities against Dalits are stopped. When AV spoke to Samajwadi Party MP Praveen Kumar Nishad, he asserted, “I strongly believe that changing political parties adds no value to the nation’s development as it’s done only for their own benefits; leaders rather should focus on spreading political awareness among the citizens. When the leaders shift to a different party, they take their followers along. While it does not make much difference with a leader changing side, but it’s the grassroot party workers, the real pillar of every political party, whose departure affects the party?”
In November last year, the release of the first list of BJP candidates for the Rajasthan Assembly elections has triggered a flurry of resignations in the party as many prominent names – State Minister Surendra Goyal, BJP MLA Habibur Rahman, former General Secretary of the BJP Kuldeep Dhankhar decided to quit as the party had failed to get ticket to contest. Habibur Rahman returned to Congress. Although, Kamlapat Arya, a politician from the Dalit community from Madhya Pradesh, left the BJP’s unit in Madhya Pradesh’s Chambal division in October last year, to join the Congress. Danish Ansari and Amaan Memon, former BJP members also quit the party.
In the latest strong move by the oppositions, putting aside their differences and pledged to work together for a Modi-free nation, leaders of 23 national and regional parties descended in Kolkata on Saturday. Nonetheless, in a more shameful act by a disgruntled BJP leader, Shatrughan Sinha shared the stage with opposition leaders, called for changing the government in the 2019 Lok Sabha election and said that he was not afraid of being removed from the ruling party.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sajda Ahmed stated, “The 2019 general election is going to be a significant one and all the political parties in India want to dethrone BJP from power. The recently held mega opposition rally in Bengal marked the togetherness of the like-minded parties who will fight the election with the same motto. Public representatives usually change political parties as per the political wave; however, it makes least difference in the party’s structure. Although it undoubtedly affects the grassroot workers.”
The Nation has noticed this game of shifting the parties from one to another by the leaders ahead of the elections for their political and personal gains. However, it is believed that such party change as per political wave can affect the grassroots workers the most!
Maharashtra Pradesh BJP Mahila Morcha chief Madhavi Naik expressed, “Before elections, to touch the majority figure of seats, political parties accept leaders from other parties who can fetch more votes. The change from one political party to another surely makes an impact on the party cadre; while before including someone from a different party, political parties always take the opinion of the grassroot party workers to avoid confusion.”