BHOPAL: It might be a coincidence but it is a fact that as many as 15 of the 25 MLAs who quit the Congress and jumped on to the BJP bandwagon were first-timer legislators. Clearly, their political career in politics had just begun. But still, they chose to dump the party that had sent them to the Vidhan Sabha for the first time. And now they are again in the fray as nominees of the BJP with no certainty that they would be re-elected.
All of them are young (in political terms) and are in the age group of 35-45 years and have a long political career before them. Then, why did they do what they did?
One answer, of course, is that their primary loyalty was not to the party but to Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was instrumental in securing Congress tickets for them and also for ensuring their victory. This is especially true of those who had won from the Gwalior-Chambal region – where Scindia is said to command a formidable influence.
However, the Congress believes that they did it primarily for the sake of money. “All this talk of they being hurt because of lack of development in their constituencies is a lot of humbug,” says Bhupendra Gupta, state media vice president for Congress.
According to Gupta, these MLAs had just sold themselves. “They have earned enough money to last their lifetime. Even if they lose the ongoing by-elections, they won’t mind it,” he said.
Moreover, according to him, all of them had won polls with slender margins and they were not sure whether they would be able to make it to the Vidhan Sabha the next time.
Rajneesh Agarwal, spokesperson for the BJP, however, takes a different view. According to him, the MLAs cannot be faulted on moral or ethical grounds because they had simultaneously resigned from the Vidhan Sabha and are now seeking a fresh mandate from the people. “They knew that the future of the Congress is dark and that they would end up nowhere if they continue in the party. And that is why they chose to switch to the BJP,” Agarwal said. He said that if the MLAs were sure that the Congress enjoys popularity and influence in the state they would have never quit it.
The first-timer Congress MLAs who have quit the party and are now in the fray as BJP nominees from their respective constituencies are: Raghuraj Singh Kansana (Morena), Girraj Dandotia (Dimni), Kamlesh Jatav (Ambah), OPS Bhadoria (Mehgaon), Munnalal Goyal (Gwalior East), Raksha Santram Sironia (Bhander), Jasmant Jatav (Karera), Suresh Dhakad (Pohri), Jajpal Singh Jajji (Ashoknagar), Praduymn Singh Lodhi (Bada Malhera), Sumitra Devi Kasdekar (Nepanagar), Manoj Choudhary (Haatpipaliya) and Narayan Patel (Mandhata).