By Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao
The New Year 2022 added another season to the existing winter, summer and that season is the “season of political defections”. The announcement of election schedule saw a plethora of defections from one party to another party though only the defections in crucial state of Uttar Pradesh and specifically from BJP to other parties are highlighted in the media. There is no state and no political party which are not experiencing defections. The spread of defection is comparable to the highly infectious Omicron. Like the unpredictable virus the defective bug is also infesting any one across the political spectrum. There is no prior warning but all of a sudden the leaders are found out ‘positive’ for defection.
The change of heart regarding the political party or philosophy which was rare, prior to the emergence of Indira Gandhi on the political scene, has picked up the momentum and now in 2022 assembly election time the pace of defections. Not that the defections has not happened in 2021. What is happening in Uttar Pradesh is an extension of what has happened in Bengal last year. But the pace of defections peaked despite knowing that defections into BJP from TMC has not helped BJP to dethrone Mamata Banerjee. Neither was those earlier defections are ideologically oriented nor the current defections. It is not ideology which is prompting the defections but the personal agenda which is the overriding factor in defections. Money and power are the only criterion for joining the new party in any defection and none including the defectors can’t deny that.
All those prominent defectors like Swami Prasad Mourya and Dara Singh Chouhan from UP are the past masters of defection. These whether cocks of political atmosphere are early detectors of the blowing of the political wind direction and like migrant birds which use the seasonal winds these leaders also migrate to the winning party. Earlier in 2017 they saw victory wind towards BJP and shifted from BSP to the BJP. Now they thought the wind is blowing towards SP and they spread their wings to fly in that direction. More or less at the same time two MLAs one sitting MLA from Congress, Naresh Saini a former MLA from SP defected to BJP. Any politician is capable of defending his action on any issue so for these seasoned MLAs explaining the reasons for their defections is quite easy. After being in ministry for almost 5 years both Mourya and Chouhan has found defective treatment of BC and SCs by the BJP under Yogi Adityanadh and resigned from the power and party.
No leader can be denied his freedom to change the party or shift his ideology. The current crop of defectors are enjoying that constitutionally given freedom. Even the anti-defection Law prohibits the defection while holding the post that to if done alone but condones the mass defections. So even legally speaking the current defectors can’t be consider as doing the unholy act, since there is no party which has not encouraged defections. Earlier observers used to see the BJP and Communist parties as ideologically oriented and are different from other parties. But over the years BJP has dropped its proclamation of ‘part with a difference’ and started behaving like any other party. With the recent defections of some CPM leaders to Congress and leaders joining the CPM in Kerala the ideological party tag was self- robbed.
We heard a lot from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Aravind Kejriwal on the value based politics. He abhorred political corruption and promised value based politics. He captured Delhi twice on the slogan of different kind of politics from established BJP and Congress. Now in his ambition of expanding his influence into other states what the AAP chief is doing to depend on the defectors. In Goa out of the first list of ten AAP candidates at least 4 are defectors from BJP and may be there defectors from other parties in the next list. So what is the message the parties are giving to the voter? In the elections the party labels may change but the candidates remain the same. It is going to happen in all the states as the assurance of the ticket is the prime condition for defections besides hidden benefits offered to the defectors.
For the parties the ultimate goal is power and are least worried about the means. What the present BJP is doing was what the Congress did when Indira Gandhi was at the helm. The winning party in Haryana then went straight to Indira Gandhi and joined her part to remain in power and retain position. Such was the power of Indira that that it was very difficult for any non-Congress party to remain in power even after getting the people’s mandate. Now it is BJP’s turn to take the chance for forming the government even though its majority is in doubt. It happened in Karnataka in 2018 and then in Maharashtra in 2019. Even its Goa government formation in 2017 was based the strength of defections it engineered.
Now in early 2022 the BJP is facing the effect of desertions from its own camp in UP. No doubt that it is gaining some defectors from other parties both in UP and Uttarakhand but the perception is that SP is the exhibiting the surge in attracting the defectors. It is difficult to expect ethics from the defectors. Once made up his mind to shift the allegiance the defector will easily find faults in the party in which he was and virtues in the party which is offering him better feature. The current defectors in UP had the past history of changing parties. Some of the defectors are proudly claiming that whichever party to which they defected gained power in elections and they are confident of extension of that in 2022.
With defections the parties may gain, the leaders may get the benefits for changing the sides but ultimately the voter is the loser.
(Author is retired professor and occasional contributor for dailies and magazines on politics and environmental issues. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])