NEW DELHI: Mukul Roy’s exit from the Bharatiya Janata Party and reports of more recent Trinamool Congress imports wanting to leave the party underline the challenges the saffron party faces in its attempt to expand its footprint outside its core base, the Hindi heartland.
Most of the areas outside the Hindi belt are not the ideal breeding ground of the Hindutva ideology that the BJP professes.
Recruits to the BJP do not have the same ideological commitment to the party and its beliefs as those from the saffron brigade’s stomping grounds.
Yet the need to expand beyond its core area is necessary.
So the BJP since 2014 has coopted leaders and workers from others parties, leading to its expansion in the northeast even.
After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP’s soaring ambition to expand across the country was mirrored in party’s long list of 13 vice presidents consisting of four turncoats.
But as long as power or the prospect of power or the sharing of the perks of power is there, such recruits pose no problem and they remain glued to the party.
Take away these three essentials and the glue begins to wane, giving birth to indiscipline and dissension.
This reality check is what the BJP is experiencing not only in West Bengal but also in Tripura, Goa and to some extent in UP.
Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb for past one-and-a-half years has been fending off a challenge from the “scheming” of the turncoats who had joined the BJP from the TMC and the Congress.
In Goa, the BJP is staring at the prospect of internal rebellion while differences between chief minister Pramod Sawant and state health minister Vishwajit Rane, a recruit from the Congress, are hogging the limelight. Rane is long time Congress CM Pratap Singh Rane’s son.
In UP, the BJP made handsome gains in expanding party’s social constituency by importing leaders from the BSP in the run up to the 2017 UP elections.
The likes of Dara Singh Chouhan, S P S Baghel and Swamy Prasad Mourya helped the BJP make quick gains among the most backward castes, which had earlier been loyal to the BSP.
While such leaders have maintained a low profile in the Yogi Adityanath dispensation, BJP brass is well aware of the risks if they are not suitably rewarded.
But despite these challenges, there are indications have the BJP will not make any course corrections to woo turncoats.
No course corrections
Despite facing the challenges, there are indications that the BJP will not make any course corrections to woo turncoats.
The saffron outfit is banking on them to strengthen its base in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, besides the traditional strongholds.
“There are many good people in other parties who can make a good contribution by joining the BJP,” said a senior BJP leader.