When there is a monopolisation, the tide would always turn in that direction. Everybody wants a piece of cake and it’s a perfectly normal human phenomena. When BJP came to power in 2014 riding on to the winds of hope and development , it decimated all its rivals and principally reduced the Indian political landscape to one hegemonic pole. May it be state or by and even municipal elections, the BJP juggernaut is undoubtedly at its best. The saffron party now caters to a large number of opportunistic politicians from other parties seeking greener pastures. It’s completely normal to switch parties in the wake of better election prospects but recently a few surprising names from the Congress party jumping into the BJP were significantly of different nature.
When Rita Bhahuguna Joshi joined BJP, the intentions were not difficult to deduce. Elections in UP were round the corner, the BJP was shown by the exit polls to march ahead and congress was seemingly much behind distantly reeling in single digit performance. Even if Bahuguna Joshi happens to be a Gandhi family insider and the head of Congress party in UP, her opportunistic outreach to the BJP is measured in terms of chances BJP is harbouring to inch closer to power in contrast to drought like situation for Congress in decades. Winnability was the key and this process of diffusion amongst parties cutting across the lines is natural.
Something contra distinctive is somebody like ND Tiwari who once was in the contention to be the PM too along with his son climbing the BJP staircase. This defection was not like a usual election make shifting nomadic stay but spoke volumes of the belief in the hearts of staunchest Congress party veterans. This is an important point to note that the sinking ship of the Congress party is now steering names like Tiwari to jump off the bandwagon. Leaders who imbibed that necessary ideology of the grand old party and their DNA are now deserting the organisation. The biggest threat in such circumstances is triggering a cascade where more leaders then may follow suit creating a trend.
Although Tiwari may not have been an active member of the Congress now, it was a symbolic blow and before it could recover another big name resigned from the party.
SM Krishna was dually important as far as the Congress is concerned. Primarily he was an old horse veteran of the only state Congress is governing now. And secondly he held important portfolios like ministry of external affairs and was himself a deeply embedded Congressman.
His resignation from the party was blamed on he being sidelined and his apparent closeness to the BJP may be in lieu with the upcoming elections in the state of Karnataka. SM Krishna was also the CM of the state in the past and is popular amongst the Kannadigas especially in lieu with his governance coinciding with rise of Bengaluru as an IT hub. Along with Yeddyurappa now going to assume the role of a pilot in the scheduled polls, SM Krishna and his combination may be a big stride to dismantle the only major Congress ruled state in the country.
As I mentioned above, political opportunism owing to electoral benefits is common but seasoned leaders entrenching party ideology leaving is uncommon. As the Congress party may downplay this new overturn, the BJP on the other hand has to ponder over addition of such leaders to their own party fold.
It’s essential to emphasize that in the quest for the dreams of a Congress free, BJP mustn’t compromise and may seek balance with respect to the kinds of leaders entering from the opposition fold. Sometimes electoral aspects and gains gather more meat and hence leaders like SM Krishna may have to be inducted especially if recovering the state of Karnataka is concerned.
In the state of Assam, a major dissident Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sharma changed sides on the eve of elections which helped BJP dislodge Tarun Gogoi and establish BJP govt in Guwahati. However care must also be taken in avoiding tainted leaders who’s inclusion may boost electoral numbers but beat party image which takes decades and years to construct.
In the past DP Yadav, a reigning don turned politician in UP interiors managed to grab himself a BJP ticket which was carefully reversed by the central body of the party. On the same lines, rumours of somebody like Raja Bhaiya clutching onto the BJP apple cart may be too much to take.
BJP needs to strike a balance in considering leaders who may hold a strategic stake but should weed out nefarious names which may spoil party’s name and even meddle with its inherent core ideology. Sometimes imbibing leaders from other parties especially Congress may benefit in the shorter run but in the long distant scenario it may cause dedicated workers and leaders to get disgruntled and unhappy leading to rebelling and distortion of inner party mechanisms.
Big names tumbling out of the Congress into the BJP is an eye opener for the former. The party needs a grass root makeover and a complete resurrection if wants to realise any chances of springing back anytime soon. For the BJP it’s important to screen who’s coming in and who should be left out. For next few months to come perhaps there will be too much of knocking on the doors and the BJP has to restrain itself methodically into deciding when to open or close the same.