LUCKNOW: What is common among Savitri Bai Phule, Ashok Kumar Dohre, Chhote Lal Khairwar, Dr Yashwant Singh and Kuldeep Singh Sengar? They are all BJP leaders adding to the woes of a beleaguered ruling party, right? Well, there is another common thread — they are all turncoats who joined the saffron ranks ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 Assembly elections. According to political experts, the dissensions might have stirred the political cauldron in UP unexpectedly but high ambitions for a secure political future are in play for opportunists. Moreover, such opposing voices have gained ground after the prospective SP-BSP alliance the chances of which are imminent on the horizon of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Not only Dalits, but now the leaders of traders’ community (vaishya) are also raising voices. The pattern is exasperating and situation is tricky for the BJP which has indiscriminately inducted leaders from other parties while making inroads into the vote banks of SP and BSP. The party reaped its benefit in the form of historical 71 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and record 312 of 403 seats in Assembly in 2017. The party accorded priority to turncoats during ticket distribution, citing their winnability, ignoring the old party leaders who had spent their lifetime in nurturing the organisation.
But, now the fault lines are showing.
“Sensing a palpable change in political equations especially after Gorakhpur and Phulpur defeat owing to SP-BSP alliance, turncoats may now be looking for greener pastures in 2019. So they are trying to find a reason or two to make a way out of the BJP,” says a senior BJP leader seeking anonymity. He adds that the trend of inducting leaders from other parties and awarding them with tickets is not a healthy practice. “While it leads to discontent among core party workers, outsiders’ loyalty is never guaranteed,” he avers.
BJP’s Dalit MP from Bahraich, Savitri Bai Phule, accusing the Centre of compromising reservation rights of SC/ST, had been BSP sector coordinator in Balha reserved constituency earlier.
Dalit MP from Etawah, Ashok Dohre, who blamed Yogi government for atrocities on Dalits after April 2 violence, is also a BSP turncoat. After being fired from cabinet and denied ticket in 2012 by Mayawati, Dohre joined BJP just ahead of 2014 LS polls and got a ticket too. He won from SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s home turf Etawah.
Similarly, Chhote Lal Khairwar, MP from Robertsganj, despite being appointed state chairman of ST Commission, is out to shame his own government. He switched over to BJP from SP in 2014. Dr Yashwant Singh, MP, Nagina had been a part of Rashtriya Lok Dal till 2014 and prior to it he was a BSP MLA. Dr Singh had written also to the PM reminding him that Centre had done meagre for Dalits in the country during the last four years.
Senior political commentator JP Shukla says these leaders may be apprehending denial of ticket this time, so they are out to raise finger at their own government and play a martyr.“We are gauging the situation and party leadership is alive to the issue. Certainly, the think tank is working out a strategy to counter such forces and arrest this trend,” said BJP spokesman Dr Chandra Mohan.