Defecting BJP MLAs a cause of concern for saffron party

  • Vikram Sharma, Hindustan Times, Jammu
  • Updated: Nov 11, 2014 13:32 IST

Out of the six sitting Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP) MLAs denied tickets to contest the 2014 assembly polls, five have decided to snap ties with the BJP, either to contest independently or embrace other regional parties. Only Bharat Bhusan, MLA from Raipur Domana, has decided to keep his loyalties with the saffron party.

“I have decided not to contest the elections. I will go with the BJP and support the party candidate from the area,” said Bharat Bhushan, while talking to Hindustan Times.

While Lal Chand from Bani, Baldev Raj Sharma from Reasi and Gharu Ram Bhagat from RS Pura have announced their independent candidature to contest from their constituencies; Durga Dass will contest on Panthers Party’s ticket from Hiranagar, while Jagdish Raj Sapolia, MLA from Basohli, has once again embraced back his earlier party (Congress) to contest the polls.

Many consider it to be a ‘political harakari’ committed by the MLAs, as fighting elections will neither help them nor the BJP.

It must be mentioned that these MLAs had earlier been kept out of the party on the cross voting fiasco for almost half of the government session and were allowed back into the fold only at the fag-end.

However, with such defection by the sitting MLAs and the party being bereft of an issue like the Amaranth land row that swelled its kitty from just one MLA in 2002 to 11 in 2008, it will once again depend on the ‘Modi wave’ that helped the BJP win three out of the six seats in Jammu and Kashmir.

Riding on the Amarnath land row issue, BJP in 2008 had got a vote share of 37% in Reasi while NC managed to get 28% share and Congress came third with 22% vote share. A total of 70,336 votes were polled out of 1,02,000 votes in the constituency.

Same was the pattern of vote share in other 10 assembly constituencies that BJP won, riding on the Amaranth land row wave.

“Though the defecting candidates are contesting independently, they know that the possibility of their win is quite low. It is only either to dent the BJP’s vote bank in their constituencies or to make space for the rival candidates to win against the saffron party,” said one of the BJP sources privy to the developments.

Baldev Raj Sharma, now the Independent candidate from Reasi said, “We were never expecting that the BJP would play such a spoilsport with our careers after bringing us back into the party fold.

After serious discussion with the people of my constituency and as per their goodwill, I am contesting as Independent”.

The other defecting candidates were also of the same opinion, condemning BJP of spoiling their career.

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