In a setback for the Congress party just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, as many as five of its leaders including MLAs in different states have switched their loyalties to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the past few days. While four MLAs in Gujarat quit the Congress in last one month and joined the BJP, the biggest embarrassment came in the form of Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, who joined the BJP on Tuesday in the presence of CM Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai.
The development coincides with the announcement of Lok Sabha elections and a meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujarat bastion. The developments also come as a reminder that the Congress may have missed out on getting its election act together, offering an opportunity to BJP president Amit Shah who has been active on the ground and has been in touch with a number of leaders in the run up to the polls.
More embarrassment could be in store for the Congress, if media reports are to go by. As per some reports, Congress MP from Berhampore and former WBCC president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is upset with the party and is mulling to join the BJP.
Another prominent Congress leader from West Bengal Deepa Dasmunsi, who was a Lok Sabha MP between 2009-2014 from Raiganj constituency, could quit the party and join the BJP. It is believed that she is miffed with the party’s state unit leadership not allowing her to contest from Raiganj as a gesture of goodwill to sitting CPM MP Mohammed Salim.
In Gujarat, four Congress MLAs have already quit the party and joined the ruling BJP. They are: Jawahar Chavda, Parshottam Sabariya, Vallabh Dharaviya and Ashaben Patel. All the four had contested the assembly polls in 2017 on Congress’ ticket and won. The development has come a huge embarrassment for the Congress party which is holding a meeting of Congress Working Committee for the first time in Gujarat in last 58 years.
On Tuesday, Maharashtra opposition leader Radha Krishna Vikhe Patil’s son Sujay Vikhe joined the BJP. Vikhe said that he was impressed with the leadership style of PM Narendra Modi and work to make sure BJP returns o power again. Vikhe was reportedly upset over not being fielded by the party from Ahmednagar which is considered the stronghold of the Vikhe Patil family.
The party’s troubles didn’t end in Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal. In Telangana, four Congress legislators are set to join ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi of KCR. Reports are also doing the rounds that 10 Congress MLAs in the state could quit the party ahead of the general elections. This has forced the Congress to give a call to boycott the Legislative Council election slated for Tuesday.