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Explained: BJP gave the credit of Lok Sabha elections to the turncoats! Every fourth candidate of the party has come from another party

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale  - Senior Editor
5 Min Read

New Delhi: It is not a new thing in Indian politics for turncoat leaders to get election tickets. However, the scale at which turncoats have been included in the BJP candidate list for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is unusual. In the list of BJP candidates, out of 435, almost a quarter i.e. 106 candidates are those who have changed the party at some point in the last 10 years. Of these, 90 people joined BJP in the last five years.

Most of the BJP candidates in these states are turncoats.

The highest proportion of such candidates is in Andhra Pradesh, where BJP has fielded six candidates. From 2019 till now, all except one of them have come from one party or the other. These not only include leaders of Congress and YSRCP, but ironically, leaders of its current ally TDP have also been given tickets. Nearly two-thirds of the BJP's 17 candidates in neighboring Telangana have come from other parties, the major ones being BRS and Congress. Of the 11 such candidates, six had joined the BJP before these elections.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are states where BJP's presence has been limited, even in Haryana. BJP has been in power in Haryana for a decade, six out of 10 of its candidates have switched sides since 2014. Two of them, Naveen Jindal and Ashok Tanwar, had joined the party just before the Lok Sabha elections. Similarly, out of the 13 candidates of the party in Punjab, more than half are those who were in other parties till some time ago. Some of them were in the Congress, but when he merged his new party with the saffron party, he left the Congress along with Captain Amarinder Singh and joined the BJP.

The situation in Jharkhand is similar to that of Punjab, where until a decade or less ago, seven out of 13 MLAs were members of other parties. In this case, the imported members are from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress and the erstwhile Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM), the most high profile of which is Sita Soren. Sita is the sister-in-law of former Chief Minister of the state Hemant Soren.

BJP's dominance in UP still depends on turncoats!

The most surprising state in BJP in terms of giving tickets to outsiders is Uttar Pradesh. In the last decade, BJP has been dominant here, be it parliamentary elections or state assembly elections. Barring one ally contesting on the BJP symbol, all 74 BJP candidates are 23 who have joined the BJP at some point since 2014. This is 31% of the BJP candidates in the state.

Similarly, BJP has fielded 29% candidates in Odisha and 26% candidates from other parties in Tamil Nadu. It is also BJP's compulsion to give tickets to leaders from other parties in these states because these are not BJP's strongholds. The surprising thing is that in Maharashtra too, one fourth of the BJP candidates have changed sides and joined the party. This is certainly a symptom of the major changes that have taken place in the state's politics, especially in the last five years. The fifth note of the musical scale. If we look at BJP candidates in Bengal, the situation seems similar to Maharashtra. However, this proportion is lower in all other states. Interestingly, even in Gujarat, which is considered the stronghold of BJP, two candidates have joined the party since 2014.

This analysis does not include allies contesting elections on BJP ticket. These include five such cases which can be called 'homecoming'. Those who returned home and got tickets from BJP include Jagadish Shettar (Karnataka), Udayanraje Bhosale (Maharashtra) and Sakshi Maharaj (Uttar Pradesh).

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