Kolkata: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to be banking on 158 seats of the defected candidates in this Assembly election in West Bengal.
While Trinamool Congress (TMC) is known to be notorious for engineering post-poll defections, in the BJP’s case, a large number of defections have taken place before the polls -- signalling substantial harm for the ruling TMC. Two of TMC’s bigwigs, Mukul Roy and Shuvendu Adhikary, along with other many former TMC leaders have helped BJP aim high this election. In this new culture of defections in the state, the Left has presented itself as a reliable option emphasising so with its slogan ‘Dolbodol noi, dinbodol (Changing time, not party)’.
Interestingly, while the saffron party has been criticised for engineering an exodus of a spate of TMC leaders, many believe that TMC is, in this way, getting a taste of its medicine. The ruling party is West Bengal has facilitated defections of leaders from the Congress party. Such defections were often achieved with social and political pressure. According to reports, the number of leaders who defected to TMC from other political parties in post-poll arrangements stands at 22. The party has also been accused of bypassing legal provisions to stop such defections via its Speaker in the Assembly.
However, BJP’s defection strategy has been widespread and of an unprecedented extent and nature in West Bengal politics.
According to BJP State President, Dilip Ghosh, this defection laden strategy has paid the party handsomely in other states elections and hence, BJP does not see any harm in it. According to a political analyst, “when 158 of the 293 candidates are coming to join from other political parties, it ensures (moral) bankruptcy to be able to come to power”.
According to some experts, apart from the state BJP president, there are not many senior leaders who have been with the saffron party for at least five years. Most of the candidates had been from TMC and came to occupy pivotal posts in BJP after joining it recently. Many of them also face charges for their alleged involvement in scams like Sarada and Narada Rosevalley.
Speaking in this context, CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakraborty said, “A dangerous trend is here whereby all these posts are being turned into junk posts. Apart from Modi and Amit Shah, there are no meaningful posts in the BJP and apart from CM Mamata, there are no important roles in TMC. These are signs of decimation of democracy; defections are a part of it.”