With the announcement of the Assembly election schedule for five states by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the media are flooded with the reports of party hopping by leaders from one party to another. Prominent among them are the Swami Prasad Maurya and Dara Singh Chauhan from Uttar Pradesh who enjoyed the cabinet minister rank in the Yogi Adityanath government for the last five years. Yet they deserted the party and joined hands with the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav. Some of the BJP MLAs also followed them and sought refuge in the SP. This loyalty changing exercise happened when pre-poll surveys are giving a clear majority to the BJP in UP.
The media channels took full advantage of this shifting loyalty program of the ‘habitual quitters’ to raise their TRP ratings. The frequency of this news of defections from the BJP surprised the common voters. They felt that this was the deliberate attempt of the media to confuse the voter who would otherwise vote for the lotus party. Impressed and satisfied by the works of the Yogi government in UP and BJP governments in Goa and Uttarakhand and Manipur, the voter, in general, has formed an opinion in favor of the BJP. Even the Muslims in large numbers in UP are favoring the BJP and supported Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. But taking advantage of these defections the media is trying to confuse the voters.
The entry of Swami Prasad Mourya into SP on Friday and the wide publicity it received on the visual media is sufficient to substantiate the above observation. The 'virtual' meeting was organized by the Samajwadi Party to welcome Mourya and his colleagues into the party in the days when Corona Virus is threatening the nation and the ECI had prohibited public rallies till Jan 15 clearly showed that the SP cares a hoot for the ECI. Can this be taken as an indication of the situation that may confront us in the near future? This calls for stricter action on part of the ECI lest its authority gets eroded in days to come due to such high-handedness of the 'secular’ parties. If the ECI fails to take any strict action this time, the elections in UP may turn catastrophic.
Akhilesh Yadav has already expressed his displeasure and unwillingness for digital campaigning. He even tried in the past to ridicule the corona vaccine calling it 'a BJP Vaccine' or 'a Modi Vaccine'. The same attitude he has exhibited this time by not adhering to the ECI guidelines in the corona period. Therefore, the ECI must take strong and strict action to put this arrogance and high-handedness at rest lest it spreads like a wildfire among other parties and other poll-bound states eroding the authority and credibility of the ECI.
What will be the effect of these shifting of loyalties in UP and other states? Here we shall consider the case of Uttar Pradesh as it happens to be the largest state with 403 assembly constituencies. Some observers even call these elections as the rehearsal of the 2024 general elections as regards the BJP. How far these people will hurt and affect the election prospects of the BJP in UP? We will have to wait till March 10 for this. But this has certainly sent happy signals into the opposition camp. The so-called secular or multi-communal parties, their intellectual supporters, and the media are seemingly happy and projecting this as a 'big dent in the BJP. Blinded by the hatred for Modi, they will get busy painting rosy pictures for the victory of the opposition and humiliating defeat for the BJP. For them, the quitting of the party by these 'habitual quitters' like Mourya and Chauhan will surely bring delight. But if we analyze this event politically we may get a clear indication about the psychology of these 'ayaram gayaram' tribe of leaders.
Swami Prasad Mourya was earlier with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Mayawati offered him the coveted posts of a cabinet minister, leader of the opposition, state president of the party, and floor leader of the BSP in the state assembly. But he was not happy with them. He wanted to politically rehabilitate his entire family by establishing his son and daughter in the party. When he felt this would not be possible, he quit the party accusing Mayawati of 'selling the party tickets', and joined the BJP. He got elected and was made a cabinet minister in the BJP government. He also got the Lok Sabha seat for his daughter but she failed to win that election. And this was when the BJP rode to victory in the massive Modi wave in UP! Such was his political clout!! When he realized that 'his people' are denied candidature in the BJP now, he shifted to Samajwadi Party now.
The BJP has 325 MLAs in the House of 403 in UP. Based on their performance of the past five years, the party has started the selection process and maybe some of the sitting MLAs would be denied party tickets this time. Such MLAs whose number is around 25-30 may desert the party and seek shelter in the Samajwadi Party. Swami Prasad Mourya happens to be one of them.
Most MLAs who defected had earlier entered the BJP from some other party and now they are not confident of getting the party nominations this time. Their sole aim and objective are to get maximum benefits to them and amass wealth in any way. They care a hoot for the country, people, and their own constituency and voters who elected them. Selfishness is their keyword and serving the interests of their family and kin is their watchword. This only is their political objective. Obviously, commitment to ideology, party, country, etc. comes second for them. But they are not tired of chanting the mantras of secularism, poverty alleviation, women empowerment, saving the girl child, unemployment, etc. shamelessly. They accord more importance to their self-interest over to the nation's interests.
Ever since Narendra Modi became Chief Minister of Gujarat, there has been a significant section of politicians that hates him and tries every bit to unsettle him by hook or by crook. Such people are there in politics, outside of it, and inside the media. For them, the news of people like Swami Prasad Mourya quitting BJP is an event to be celebrated. They think that this would definitely bring defeat to the BJP and Modi. Hence, they project such news with 'larger than life' size coverage. But they forget to note that the voter has understood the politics of such 'habitual quitters' and their supporters. However, it is for the BJP to decide how much importance should be accorded to such ayarams-gayarams in the party.
Since 2017, UP has seen tremendous change all over. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the main change is that the state has been rid of gundaraj and mafiaraj. The average people are happy at the relatively peaceful atmosphere in the state. Women are feeling safe in the 'Yogi Raj'. The people have given their first choice to the BJP for the welfare works such as houses for the poor, free food grains during the Corona Pandemic, gas connections, etc. for the common masses irrespective of caste, creed, and religious affiliations. At such a time the media is presenting these defections from BJP in a big way so that they can harm the election prospects of the BJP in 2022 and 2024. But people have become alert and will not get carried away by such 'doctored propaganda'. They hold the key to teaching a befitting lesson to habitual quitters like Swami Prasad Mourya and his ilk.