Monsoon is approaching and raincoats will be in demand. While monsoon may still be a few months away, the season of election has already stung India with its heat. In the season, raincoats aren’t visible but turncoats mushroom all around.
The latest was today (April 19) when Priyanka Chaturvedi left Congress and joined the Shiv Sena. In a press conference after switching sides, Priyanka Chaturvedi said she was let down by the Congress leadership for going soft on party colleagues who misbehaved with her.
Two days earlier, she had publicly slammed the Congress leadership saying she is deeply saddened that “lumpen goons get preference in Congress over those who have given their sweat and blood”.
Priyanaka Chaturvedi is not the lone turncoat this election season. In fact, there have been many other examples that suggest that loyalty for political ideologies (Left, Right, Centre etc) does become a casualty when reality overshadows the lofty realms of normative idealism.
Other turncoats this season:
Tom Vadakkan: (Congress to BJP)
Before joining the Bharatiya Janata Party, Tom Vadakkan, a leader from Kerala, was considered to be a close aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Justifying his decision to switch sides, Tom Vadakkan said he was upset because the Congress “questioned the integrity of our armed forces”. “If a political party takes such a position that is against the country then I’m left with no option but to leave the party,” Tom Vadakkan said in his press conference after joining the BJP.
Shatrughan Sinha: (BJP to Congress)
Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha ended ties with the BJP (after being in the party for over decades) and joined the Congress just ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. He is a two-time Lok Sabha MP from Patna Sahib and had served as a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Owing to his public attacks on PM Narendra Modi and the top BJP leadership, he was denied ticket from Patna Sahib. Shatrughan Sinha then left the BJP and joined the Congress which has fielded him from Patna Sahib against BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Kirti Azad: (BJP to Congress)
Son of Congress leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Bhagwat Jha Azad, cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad left the BJP and joined the Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
In the past two-three years, he had soured ties with the BJP after he publicly criticised senior BJP leader and Union minister Arun Jaitley in the alleged scam in the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association.
Baijayant Jai Panda: (Biju Janata Dal to BJP)
The Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal had a setback when one of its prominent faces–Baijayant Jai Panda-left the party and joined the BJP. Panda switched sides at a crucial time because besides the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Odisha is also voting for the state assembly election. Panda joining the BJP gives a boost to the saffron party in Odisha, a state where the BJP is trying hard to make inroads.
Vijay Prakash Jaiswal: (BSP to BJP)
Vijay Prakash Jaiswal’s moment of fame was when he contested against Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Contesting on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket from Varanasi, Jaiswal suffered a massive defeat. Five years on, he has now joined the BJP.
Mausam Benazir Noor: (Congress to TMC)
Among the turncoats in this election season is also Mausm Noor, the two-time MP who left Congress and joined the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. Noor has represented Malda in the Lok Sabha.