Chandigarh, Oct 5 (IANS) Reposing more faith in turncoats to ensure its return to Haryana, the ruling BJP has fielded 15 candidates, who switched their loyalties just before the announcement of polls.
It is followed by a newly formed Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) and the Congress.
The saffron party candidates include 11, who earlier belonging to O.P. Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), three to the Congress and one from the Shriomani Akali Dal. The last date for filing nomination papers was Friday.
Dushyant Chautala’s JJP has nominated 13 defector candidates, while the Congress has reposed faith in two.
The Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government, which had won 47 of the 90 seats in the Assembly in the last elections and formed the government in the state for the first time, is targeting 75-plus seats in the October 21 elections.
Its ‘open arm’ policy has led to an influx of sorts from the rival political parties.
Over the last five years, apart from 25 per cent of the total Congress and INLD legislators, at least 30 of their leaders have switched loyalties to the BJP.
Besides, four of the five Independent legislators also shifted loyalties to the saffron party.
Two prominent Opposition leaders — a former COngress MLA Dura Ram who served as its Parliamentary Secretary from 2005 to 2009, and senior INLD leader Ram Pal Majra — joined the BJP hours before the announcement of elections on September 21.
The deserter legislators that the BJP has fielded are Parminder Dhull (Julana), Zakir Hussain (Nuh), Rajveer Barara (Mullana), Leela Ram Gurjar (Kaithal), Ram Kumar Kashyap (Indri), Ram Chander Kamboj (Rania), Ranbir Gangwa (Nalwa), Satish Nandal (Garhi Sampla Kiloi), Naseem Ahmed (Firozepur Zhirka), Nagendra Bhadana (Faridabad NIT) and Jagdish Nayyar (Hodal).
It has also fielded three turncoat former Congress legislators — Vinod Bhayana (Hansi), Dura Ram (Fatehabad) and Bachan Singh Arya (Safidon). The lone SAD legislator Balkaur Singh, who joined the BJP, is trying his luck again from Kalanwali.
Of the INLD’s 19 MLAs, four joined its breakaway faction — the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP). They got the party candidature.
The Congress has given tickets to two turncoats — Ashok Arora (Thanesar) and Pradeep Chaudhary (Kalka) — both of whom walked out of the INLD.
In a political career spanning over 35 years, Arora remained President of INLD’s Haryana unit for more than two decades.
Interestingly, the phrase ‘Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram’ was coined for defectors. the 90-member House was effectively reduced to 83, with five of them losing their membership under the anti-defection law. One member died, while another resigned.
Only time will tell how many turncoats will manage to return to the Assembly on October 24 when the ballots are counted.
(Vishal Gulati can be reached at email@example.com)