The Congress party, which has been a partner of two consecutive governments in the past twelve years two, is now being deserted by its own ahead of the State elections.
Former deputy Chief Minister, Mangat Ram Sharma, former minister Gharu Ram and ex-MP Lal Singh are among the deserters, but the Congress party has dismissed their departure as insignificant.
"Mangat Ram is ageing and is at the fag end of his political career. Gharu Ram is not well. The (rest of) individuals don't mean much to the party," said Congress state unit President, Saif-ud-din Soz.
While Mangat Ram and Gharu Ram have joined the PDP, a few others including two-time MP, Lal Singh, has joined the BJP and has been given a mandate as well. Singh was once a close confidant of Ghulam Nabi Azad. Another former Congress leader, RS Pathania, has also left and has been given a BJP ticket.
Others to leave the Congress are former chief secretary, BR Kundal, a party MLC who was known to have been brought into the party by Ghulam Nabi Azad.
In the 2008 Assembly elections, the Congress party had polled 17.7 percent votes and won 17 seats. However, in the recent parliamentary elections it lost all three seats. Many see the defeat as the trigger for these desertions.
A Congress leader, who didn't wish to be named, admitted there's an anti-Congress mood in the state. "Anti-incumbency (factor) does come in after 12 years," he said.
But Ghulam Nabi Azad believes his party will form the next government in the State. "We will increase our tally and form the government. It's the only (our) party which can compete and defeat the BJP in the State," he said.