Hyderabad: As Assembly elections in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana draw nearer, a new trend seems to be emerging on the political front — that of defectors calling the shots across the political spectrum.
While the political parties have been encouraging defections, there is a growing awareness that the defectors may be hampering the progress of “real party workers”.
Because all political parties are seeking to back winning horses, the lion’s share of election tickets is going to defectors rather than existing party workers.
For the upcoming Karnataka elections, the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal(S) have awarded tickets to 60 defectors. During the recent Tripura elections, nearly 80 per cent of elected BJP MLAs were defectors.
In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, too, the focus while selecting candidates seems to be on winning, rather than such factors as loyalty or hard work. Understandably, this trend is causing growing unrest among party workers and infighting within parties.
In Karnataka, the news from political circles is that the ruling Congress has given tickets to eight former JD(S) MLAs and five former BJP leaders.
The BJP, which has confidently declared that it is coming to power, has given tickets to five JD(S) and seven Congress leaders. The JD(S) has given tickets to 22 defectors, among whom 12 are from Congress and 10 from BJP, some of them having joined JD(S) mere days before the filing of nominations.
The BJP has refused a ticket to Bijapura district party president K. Vital, who promptly joined Co-ngress at the last minute and was rewarded with a ticket.
Former Congress MLA Prasannakumar wanted the party ticket from Pulikeshinagar, but the ticket went to former JD(S) MLA Srinivasamurthy, which caused Pra-sannakumar to join JD(S) and earn his ticket.
During the previous elections in AP, several Congress leaders had joined Telugu Desam (TD) just before the polls and received tickets.
Among them were current MPs J.C. Diwakar Reddy, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, and T.G. Venkatesh.
In both AP and Telangana, several MLAs defected from one party to another after the elections. In AP, 22 YSRC MLAs and three MPs defected to the TD. In Telangana, 13 MLAs and two MPs from the TD, 12 MLAs and one MP from the Congress and one MP and three MLAs from the YSRC defected to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). Both the TD and the TRS duly offered Cabinet berths to the defectors.
Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Diwakar Reddy, who joined the TD from the Congress just before the 2014 elections and was elected from the Anantapur Lok Sabha constituency, said whether defector or party worker, any party should give a ticket to a candidate with a winning chance, and that winning ought to be the only criterion for any political party while handing out tickets.
However, Congress MLA D.K. Aruna said no defector should be given a ticket at the expense of “genuine party leaders”, and added that defectors should work for a party for five years before even being considered for a ticket.