As political leaders and smaller parties make a beeline for the BJP ahead of the elections, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj seems to have put paid to efforts of some of the likely entrants.
Swaraj said she was against the entry or alliance of the Karnataka-based BSR Congress, floated by ‘tainted’ mining barons from Bellary, with the BJP and even expressed her opposition to allowing former senior Congressman from Haryana, Venod Sharma, into either the BJP or its Haryana Janhit Congress.
Swaraj’s opposition to inclusion of some of the parties with taint is likely to result in the BJP staying away from parties whose leaders are involved in graft charges.
Reacting to two separate news reports, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha tweeted:
I am opposed to the BSR alliance or merger with BJP in Karnataka. @mukeshirs— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwarajbjp) March 6, 2014
I have conveyed to Shri Raj Nath Singhji in writing that BJP must not permit this. http://t.co/Y8UGZPrfdA— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwarajbjp) March 6, 2014
Swaraj’s open opposition came in wake of reports that entry of the BSR Congress into the BJP fold was a mere formality as the state unit was pitching for alliance with the erstwhile BJP leaders to strengthen the party’s position ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Ironically, BSR Congress leader Sreeramalu had announced that his party was merging with the BJP after separating from it two years ago.
Swaraj’s opposition to this merger stems from the fact that in the past other parties had attacked the BJP leader for her association with Reddy brothers - Janardhana, Karunakara and Somashekara. Sushma had refuted allegations that she ever patronised them. The influential Reddy brothers were forced to quit the BJP after they were named and arrested in the mining scam.
After forming a separate party, the BSR Congress won four seats in the last elections that saw the decimation of the BJP in Karnataka - the first southern state held by the saffron party. As there were corruption charges against then Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, the reluctance on the part of the BJP to sack him cost the party dear.
The BJP came under severe attack from other parties, including the Congress, for not taking any action against Lingayat strongman. By the time, it took action, the damage was done to the party.
Now, after Yeddyurappa’s return - after getting a clean chit from courts - BJP was hoping to bring in other breakaway factions within the party fold to achieve target of 272 seats in Lok Sabha. The senior BJP leader also reacted strongly to the entry of Haryana politician Venod Sharma into either the BJP fold or even allowing him in Kuldeep Bishnoi-led Haryana Janhit Party (HJC). The HJC is in alliance with the BJP in Haryana.
“I am strongly opposed to this. I have conveyed my views to Kuldeep Bishnoi. Venod Sharma set to join HJC,” Swaraj tweeted in response to a news report. Swaraj also belongs to Haryana. Sharma, a prominent Congress leader resigned from the party to join HJC, is likely to contest from Karnal seat.