Elections 2019: Defectors have their day in the Sun in Odisha

..... In Odisha, defectors are apparently having the field day in the upcoming elections of 2019. They are selling like hot cakes this time.

Bhubaneswar: Had Winston Churchill been alive this date, he would have been compelled to have a retake of his famous quote “Some men change party for the sake of their principles”. The quote in 2019 and in the context of current fluid political scenario in Odisha could be read as “Many women and men change party for the sake of a MP or MLA ticket”.

In Odisha, defectors are apparently having the field day in the upcoming elections of 2019. They are selling like hot cakes this time. Political parties of all hues seem betting big on defectors this time to carry the day for their parties.

Even, the ruling BJD, which keeps boasting of winning for the 5th time in a row purely on CM Naveen Patnaik’s image and the so-called development model, looked more keen in inducing strong men from other parties only to bolster its chances. The party betting big on turncoats in 2019 at the expense of its core workers speak volumes and put a question mark on its claims.

The BJP, which goes to the town trumpeting to form Government on its own strength, also looked more than eager as it inducted large number of turncoats during last one week. The party claiming big win owing to ‘Modi wave’ seems banking heavily on defectors here.

And the grand old Congress party, whose leaders switched for greener pastures elsewhere, looks over excited to rope in deserters from other parties in order to replenish its depleted strength before the crucial elections, when the party is claiming that Congress will win big owing to high anti-incumbency and affection for Congress principles.

Sample this. The ruling BJD has preferred defectors like senior Congress leader Naba Das from Jharsuguda, BJP women leader Sushma Biswal, Congress leader Sunita Biswal et al. The BJD has dropped many of its incumbent MLAs and MPs to accommodate the neo-converts.

Berhampur MP Siddhant Mohapatra was replaced by senior Congress leader Chandra Sekhar Sahu, and former congressman Bikram Panda was preferred over Ramesh Chyau Patnaik.  Party gifted congress MLA Jogesh Singh the Sundergarh Assembly seat ignoring claims of BJD leader Kusum Tete.

“Winnability is the sole criterion of BJD’s candidate selection,” said CM Naveen Patnaik prior to announcement of candidates list for two phases. Significantly, a high of around one-third of names in the list announced by the CM were turncoats and the statement of Patnaik assumes significance and highlights the evolving political trend in Odisha.

The pictures of BJP office being gheraoed and locked by irate workers fly on the face of the party, which boasts of as having a disciplined cadre. The reason for the tempest is ignoring of core workers over defectors. BJP also cites the oft-repeated word ‘winnability’. The party has also given around 35-40 per cent tickets to defectors for the upcoming polls.

The eagerness of Congress to embrace defectors is evident from the statement of none other than State party chief Niranjan Patnaik, when he publicly claimed that Kandhamal MP Pratyusha Singh will be joining Congress. But two days after, Singh joined BJP. The Congress party has so far allotted nearly one-tenth of its seat to turncoats.