Lucknow: After suffering a major setback with the defection of three cabinet ministers (Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan and Dharam Singh Saini) and nearly half of dozen sitting legislators, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has also managed to lure some Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders in a sort of ‘tit for tat’ game.
Hariom Yadav, MLA from Sirsaganj in UP's Firozabad, Ghanshyam Lodhi, sitting MLC, Shailendra Singh, senior leader and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter in-law Aparna Yadav have joined the saffron party ahead of the upcoming of the Assembly elections.
Also Read: UP Elections: Flood of Resignations in BJP; Swami Prasad Maurya, More Sitting MLAs May Join SP
But, will these defections help the ruling party’s poll prospects? No, say political observers and some senior journalists who have keenly watching the electoral scenario as it unfolds.
“Several political leaders change their associations before election because of their reasons and vested interests. Broadly speaking, this hardly impacts the winnability of a political party subject to the stature of the leaders who are switching their loyalties. A glaring example is the West Bengal election where several Trinamool Congress leaders shifted to BJP. But what happened? The TMC registered a thumping majority,” veteran journalist Ram Dutt Tripathi told NewsClick.
He said some BJP stalwarts joining SP had boosted the morale of the party and its cadres and will certainly help the Akhilesh Yadav-led party, but some SP leaders joining hands with BJP would not help the Yogi Adityanath-led saffron brigade as their political stature was “not too high”.
Atul Chandra, another senior journalist and political observer, agreed with this, adding that defections had become a “routine affair” in today’s political scenario.
“Political leaders leaving their parties and joining rival groups is a routine affair these days. It sometimes impacts electoral results, but not always. All depends on how much weight the defector is carrying. Certainly, the defection of three ministers and almost half dozen heavyweight MLAs will help SP. The reason is that it will help SP to consolidate non-yadav, OBC votes in its favour because all of those quitting have accused their party (BJP) of ignoring the Other Backward Classes and preferring upper caste thakurs over them,” Chandra told NewsClick.
The non-yadav OBC vote bank is a major chunk that directly affects election results in UP.
Chandra also ruled out the possibility of BJP gaining much from the SP leaders switching sides because their hold is “not that strong”.
“Aparna Yadav joining BJP is not surprising at all as she was already singing BJP’s tune for long. The rest of the SP leaders who have joined BJP are not well known, except a sitting MLA. Therefore, I think it is not going to make any change,” he added.
Some political observers also said that just like the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 Assembly polls, BJP has been leaving no stone unturned to make the best use of the opportunities available for polarisation. The caste arithmetic seems to have upstaged its kamandal (religion) politics, apparently disturbing all poll plans of the ruling party.
The state will go to polls on February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3 and March 7.Counting of votes will be held on March 10.