Tom Vadakkan Joins BJP: Can the Congress hand hold back any more leaders from toeing the saffron line?
Seven days. Seven new leaders join the ruling party. Does this exodus indicate the flavour of the season?
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It seems to be a month of desertion and shifting loyalties.
The past seven days alone have seen as many politicians switching sides (six from Congress and one from Trinamool Congress) — joining the Bharatiya Janata Party. Here is a look:
March 8 did not dawn well for the Congress in Gujarat. Just four days ahead of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Gujarat, two MLAs in the state tendered their resignations within hours of each other.
While Manavadar MLA Jawahar Chavda gave his resignation to Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi in the afternoon, Parsotam Sabariya — who represented Dhrangadhra seat in Morbi district — gave his resignation that same evening! In fact, Jawahar Chavda was promptly inducted into the BJP and made a cabinet minister in the Vijay Rupani government on March 9.
The Dhrangadhra MLA — Parsotam Sabariya — joined BJP in the presence of senior leaders IK Jadeja and KC Patel on March 11. The induction was barely hours before another Congress MLA from Gujarat quit to join… well, the BJP.
On March 11, a day ahead of the Congress Working Committee meeting in Ahmedabad, Vallabh Dharaviya, who was the MLA from Jamnagar (Rural), quit the Congress and joined the BJP.
Walking away from the hand towards the lotus. (Photo: Reuters)
The very next day, the neighbouring state of Maharashtra had another blow waiting for the Congress.
On March 12, the leader of opposition in the Maharashtra assembly and veteran Congress leader — Radha Krishna Vikhe Patil — was to face the embarrassment of his son quitting the Congress and joining the ruling party — Sujay Vikhe Patil was reportedly upset over not getting the Congress ticket for the Ahmednagar seat that he wanted to contest from. He joined the ruling BJP the very same day in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Taking a leaf out of Sujay’s walk-out, senior Congress leader and MLA Kalidas Kolambkar quit the party on March 13. While Kolambkar has replaced the Congress signboard outside his office and put up Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' portrait there, he has not committed to joining the ruling party — yet.
However, sources have confirmed to the media that he will be joining the BJP within a week.
But perhaps the biggest of all blows was senior Congress leader Tom Vadakkan walking out to join the BJP a few hours ago, on March 14, 2019.
Vadakkan is said to have been one of the closest aides of Sonia Gandhi.
Justifying his move, Vadakkan said he was "deeply hurt" when his party of 20 years "questioned the integrity of the armed forces. I left the Congress party because when Pakistani terrorists attacked our land, my party's reaction to it was sad — it hurt me deeply. If a political party takes such a position that is against the country, then I'm left with no option but to leave the party. I gave my prime of life to Congress. But dynastic politics is now at its zenith in the party... There's no place in it for self-respecting people," Vadakkan said.
He was welcomed into the BJP by union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Let us not isolate the trend to Congress MLAs’ mass exodus to the BJP. There are people from other parties too, vying to join the BJP.
Arjun Singh (not to be confused with the late Congress leader and former HRD minister) is a four-term member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly from Bhatpara constituency. He is considered to be one of the most powerful and aggressive Hindi language leaders of Trinamool Congress and was the President of Hindi wing of the party.
We say “was” in past tense because — you got that right — he has joined the BJP earlier today (March 14, 2019). He was inducted in the party in the presence of party leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy at party headquarters in New Delhi.
Amidst all this, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Wednesday that people were losing confidence in political leaders who switched parties frequently. This was in response to when his view was sought on students entering politics.
Funny he should say so though, when the mass walk-outs are to enter the party that he's been a part of for his entire political life.