Lucknow, March 25: Those hopping from one party to another are having a field day in Uttar Pradesh, a state that sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha, as winnability becomes the key factor ahead of the 16th Lok Sabha polls. It is not without reason that almost all political parties in the state are welcoming rebels of other parties.
Ten years of political wilderness in national politics seems to have made the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) desperate. With BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi occupying political centrestage, even his staunchest critics are not batting an eyelid in embracing political leaders who till not long ago were critical of Modi.
A senior BJP leader told IANS that in election season, everything was fair.
Since the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has not only welcomed Congressmen like Jagdambika Pal and staunch Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders like Braj Bhushan Sharan Singh, Shayam Charan Gupta, Ravindra Kushwaha and Anjubala but have also fielded them as party candidates from UP.
While Pal has been given the ticket from his sitting constituency of Dumariyaganj, Braj Bhushan gets the Gonda seat which he represented as an SP MP in the outgoing Lok Sabha.
Former Allahabad mayor Shayam Charan Gupta has been given the ticket from Allahabad, SP’s Anjubala is contesting as the BJP candidate from Mishrikh and late BSP leader Arun Verma’s widow Rekha Verma is a candidate from Daurhara.
Dharmendra Kashyap will be contesting from Aaonla. He had contested on the SP ticket from Aaonla against the BJP’s Maneka Gandhi in the 2009 general election. This time, Gandhi has moved to Pilibhit – a seat vacated by her son Varun Gandhi, who shifted to Sultanpur.
The long list of tickets to those who switched loyalties is enough to trigger resentment among party workers who are openly airing their anger against the BJP national leadership.
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in the state is not far behind.
Having described the BJP as the “dumping ground of rebels”, the SP has embraced members from other parties too.
And that too in multitude.
Shazan Masood, son of now jailed RS member Rashid Masood, from the Congress, BSP Lok Sabha MP Shafeeq-ur-Rehman is now a SP candidate, BSP’s Shahnawaz Rana is in fray against actress Jaya Prada on the SP ticket from Bijnore, Arun Shukla ‘Anna’ is back in the SP from the BSP, and the BSP’s Bhal Chandra Yadav is the SP candidate from Sant Kabeer Nagar.
Shiv Kanya, the wife of one time BSP No.2 Babu Singh Kushwaha, is in the SP while the Congress’s Kunwar Akhilesh Singh is the SP candidate from Maharajganj.
It’s about winnability and public perception of the numbers flocking to his party, added a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded SP MP R.K. Singh Patel from Banda, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader and former minister Yaqoob Qureshi is now Mayawati’s preferred choice from Moradabad, Peace Party leader Jitendra Singh ‘Babloo’ is the BSP candidate from Faizabad, and R.K. Chowdhary has been fielded from Mohanlalganj. Some of them have been critics of Mayawati in the past.
The Congress has similarly assimilated Rashid Masood’s nephew and SP leader Imran Masood, Narendra Gautam and BSP’s Sabha Kunwar Kushwaha into the party fold.
Former SP duo of Amar Singh and Jaya Prada are now Lok Sabha candidates of Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal from Fatehpur Sikri and Bijnore respectively.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)