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Red carpet rolled out for party-hoppers

india Updated: Sep 11, 2010 23:29 IST
Ashok Mishra

Thakur Prasad's famous panchang (astrological calendars) are suddenly in demand. His outlet selling these panchangs for Rs 12 to Rs 14 on Patna's Station Road has run out of stock. Among the buyers are potential party-hoppers.

The calendars spell out in detail what a man born on a particular day should do on certain days, the direction he should take, and the usefulness of people whose names start with certain alphabets to his life — important instructions for some as the assembly elections approach.

"They are all ears," said Pandit Radha Mohan, a professional star-gazer. "And why should they not be, when so much is at stake?"

Though it's difficult to ascertain what role the alignment of planets and other celestial bodies played in their decision, more than three dozen legislators have already crossed fences. The most sought-after parties are the JD(U), Congress and the RJD.

On Friday, two former MPs, Sukhdeo Paswan and Anil Kumar, joined the Congress. Former JD(U) minister Nagmani, one of the party-hopping heroes, has reportedly switched sides six times in as many years. Nagmani and his wife Suchitra Sinha are now back with the Congress.

JD(U) leader Lovely Anand, wife of jailed Kosi strongman Anand Mohan, had joined the Congress in Saharsa.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tried to woo Lovely to his side when he recently visited Anand Mohan's village and sought blessings from his mother.

The ruling JD(U) is attracting politicians of all hues, from political heavyweights such as Seemanchal strongman Taslimuddin to district-level political workers.

On Thursday, senior Congress leader Giridhari Yadav, who had begun his career with the RJD, joined the JD(U).

Party-hoppers are also finding a well laid-out red carpet in the Lalu Prasad camp.

Nearly a month ago, rebel JD(U) leader Prabhunath Singh and his younger brother Kedarnath Singh, sitting JD(U) MLA from Mashrakh, joined the RJD. Former minister Veena Shahi and Reyazul Haq have also hopped to the RJD side.