In the context of recent Telangana tour by BJP top leaders and Amit Shah, the party may have been quick to embrace political turncoats all these years but that may no longer be the case. Party sounded a warning ahead of the 2019 elections, directing the BJP’s state leaders to be cautious while inducting new recruits from other political parties.
The BJP’s state leaders have been asked to do their ‘homework’ on political turncoats who express a willingness to join the party. By ‘homework’, a senior leader said, Shah wants the party units to check the antecedents, past loyalties, and verify the reasons that the leaders cite to quit their parties and join the BJP.
The senior leader added that the state units will also assess the value addition that a turncoat will bring to the BJP, and the political damage the departure will cause the opposition party.
BJP leaders say the party will tread cautiously this time as it believes that the opposition parties could send in their loyalists to dent the party from within, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The senior leader said the party is also wary as some leaders that join it, may leave midway as they feel they do not belong in the BJP. “There are many who have joined and left the party ahead of elections. This practice sends a wrong signal as those who would want to join the BJP will be wary of their future in the party. This would also create bitterness among the cadre,” the leader said.
Shah’s directive to the state leaders is a marked departure from the political strategy the BJP has adopted in the past few years, of whole-heartedly welcoming turncoats. Even last week, on 3 July, veteran Gujarat Congress leader Kunvarji Bavalia was inducted into Rupani cabinet within hours of him resigning from the Congress.
Prominent turncoats have reaped the benefits as the BJP has bowed down to political compulsions and rewarded them with plum posts. In 2016, former Congress chief minister from Uttarakhand, Vijay Bahuguna, engineered a split in the Congress, taking along several party leaders, including son Saurabh Bahuguna, to the BJP.
After the 2017 state elections, at least five of the Congress turncoats — Harak Singh Rawat, Yashpal Arya, Rekha Arya, Subodh Uniyal and Satpal Maharaj — managed ministerial berths in the BJP government under chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.
In Gujarat, many Congress leaders deserted the party and joined the BJP ahead of 2017 assembly elections; they were handed tickets by the BJP. Some of them include Ramsinh Parmar, also chairman of Amul Dairy, Mansinh Chauhan, who had been switching between the BJP and Congress and C.K. Raulji, among others.
In Uttar Pradesh, of the 10 BSP rebels who got elected in the 2017 assembly elections, six managed to secure berths in the Yogi cabinet. Some of them include Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan, and the BSP’s one-time Brahmin face, Brijesh Pathak.
Senior leaders say that while the BJP will exercise caution, it will not abandon its strategy of inducting leaders that will benefit it electorally. “There are many influential state leaders who are in talks with us. We are assessing them and if we believe they are fit to join the BJP, we will decide the time of their joining as well,” said a senior BJP leader.
Now, as Amit Shah’s schedule tour to Telangana reveal the fate of Telangana leaders and jumping monkey leaders. Let’s wait and watch. #KhabarLive