LUCKNOW: Even as the election schedule to the UP state Assembly has been announced and most of the political parties are giving final touches to the list of their candidates to head for the election battle, more than 50 politicians have already joined the band of defectors.
The image of turncoat BSP MP Naresh Agarwal, who re-joined the Samajwadi Party on December 30, has however not eroded his influence in and around his home district Hardoi, as he remains a towering leader. When he drove down to the headquarters of the SP along with BSP MLA Rajeshwari Devi on Friday a huge force of his supporters in over 500 cars and SUVs jammed the main thoroughfares of Lucknow.
There is no denying the fact that Agarwal does not believe in political loyalty or ideology and it is his name that matters in the state. Therefore, when he wished to return to the SP, Mulayam Singh Yadav did not think twice. Agarwal’s secular credentials and his warm relationship even with his political opponents keep him in demand. The BSP might have described him a ‘betrayer’, but in the SP camp he was declared a ‘warrior’ by Yadav.
Just five years back Agarwal was in the SP and had won the 2007 Assembly election. But when the SP lost the election to the BSP, he joined the ruling BSP. The BSP supremo elevated Agarwal to the upper house by electing him for the Rajya Sabha and in his Assembly seat his son Nitin Agarwal won the by-election handsomely.
Gradually, Agarwal’s relationship with the BSP chief got strained and he had made up his mind to quit the BSP to join the SP. When Mayawati declared that Agarwal’s son would not be given ticket this time he lost no time in quitting the BSP and also the membership of the Rajya Sabha, which was otherwise going to expire in April.
The breed of turncoats has many more names. Just a fortnight back, RLD chief Ajit Singh boarded the UPA plane and became Union Minister for Civil Aviation, though he had contested 2009 Lok Sabha election with the BJP as its electoral partner. Former Rajya Sabha member Shahid Siddiqui had quit the SP in 2008 following its support to the UPA Government for the nuclear deal with the US, describing the deal as ‘anti-Muslim’. Siddiqui joined the BSP, which had opposed the deal, and contested 2009 Lok Sabha election. When he failed he joined the RLD and later on quit it too.
Now, he is again clinging to Mulayam Singh Yadav describing him as the only ‘rahnuma’ (savior) of the Muslims in the country. Rashid Masood, a popular Muslim leader of the western region, has quit the SP to join the Congress in the state.
The Congress has become the most safe sanctuary for the defectors.