Many Politicians with Allegations of Corruption Find BJP a Safe Haven
Across the country, ‘prominent’ political leaders allegedly facing corruption charges or undergoing investigations against them, are currently crossing over to the BJP according to media reports. In some cases, these are leaders that the BJP had earlier accused for involvement in scams. There is media speculation about other similar leaders moving to join BJP. All this suggests that the “zero tolerance to corruption” rhetoric during and after the 2014 General Election campaign which grabbed the attention of millions of people propelling it to power, seems not to be taken seriously by this government.
Here are some high profile crossovers, all of whom reportedly had some charges against them at some point. There seems to be a specific pattern in the decisions of a number of leaders in joining the saffron party from different states – they are running scared and think that that BJP will provide sanctuary.
On 03 November 2017, in West Bengal, Mukul Roy, one of the founding leaders of Trinamool Congress (TMC), officially joined BJP. This decision comes a week after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had summoned Mukul Roy along with three other TMC leaders in connection with the Narada sting case. In 2014, Narada News CEO Mathew Samuel conducted a sting operation and put forward a video in which 12 TMC leaders including Mukul Roy were allegedly seen accepting money from Samuel, who was posing as a businessman, in lieu of favours. As of now, the case is still under investigation by ED.
Ahead of Himachal Assembly elections in 2017, former Union telecom minister Sukh Ram's son Anil Sharma, who served as cabinet minister in the previous congress government, has joined the BJP on October 15. This also meant unofficial support by Sukh Ram to BJP, who is currently facing a probe for alleged involvement in first telecom scam.
In August, 2015, Himanta Biswa Sarma, a former Congress leader from Assam, who supposedly has a good hold in North East state politics, joined BJP. He is currently serving as the Assam Health Minister in the BJP Government in the state. It is surprising that just one month before his defection, in July 2015, BJP had alleged that he was a ‘key suspect’ in Guwahati water scam which came to light in 2010.
After year-long political instability in Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, along with 32 MLAs of Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) joined the BJP leading to the formation of a full-fledged BJP government in December 2016. Reportedly, Chief Minister Khandu was facing charges of “corruption and criminal conspiracies” in the state which came out after the death of former chief minister Kalikho Pul. PPA secretary-general Kaling Jerang accused Khandu with allegations of corruption based on a suicide note left behind by late Kalikho Pul.
The speculation that Narayan Rane, formar Maharashtra CM, who recently founded Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha party, may cross over to the ruling BJP resurfaced again in the backdrop of cabinet reshuffle in Maharashtra. Narayana Rane, besides facing money laundering allegations, is also accused for alleged irregularities in denotification of land by industrial departments and is facing an ongoing probe.
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