No stopping turncoats in poll season

  • Hitender Rao, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 21, 2014 14:30 IST

Till a stringent anti-defection law was put in place, Haryana was known for unashamed change of loyalties by politicians of all hues. The politics of the state in fact became synonymous with the phrase “Aya Rams and Gaya Rams” — an expression coined by former union home minister Yashwantrao Chawan in late 60s in light of the political defections which took place in the state.

Chawan was constrained to coin the phrase after an Independent Haryana MLA, Gaya Lal, switched over his loyalty thrice in a day.

Anti-defection legislation

The anti-defection legislation has made desertions for elected representatives extremely difficult.

Under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution better known as the anti-defection law, no disqualification would be incurred when a legislature party decides to merge with another party and such decision is supported by not less than two-thirds of its members.

However, party-hopping continues more so during the election season with turncoats dumping their parent organisations to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

Spate of desertions

Haryana saw a spate of desertions before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Sworn loyalists of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda — Dharambir Singh and Venod Sharma dumped him.

A former Congress member of Parliament, Rao Inderjit Singh, had declared his intentions to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) well before anyone.

While the chain of events continues with the Haryana assembly elections less than a month away, the biggest beneficiary of these desertions is the BJP.

The saffron party has been able to get a number of Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leaders in its fold in the last few weeks.

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