With just a month remaining to the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, which will be held in seven phases, between April 11 and May 19, leaders of several political parties switched sides on Saturday. As the political campaigning intensifies, many have either resigned or joined new parties citing different reasons. Here is a list of all politicians who switched loyalties in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Manish Khanduri joins Congress
At a Congress rally in Dehradun on Saturday, senior BJP leader Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri’s son Manish Khanduri joined the grand old party in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi. Welcoming him into the party fold, Gandhi said him joining the Congress will strengthen the party. Speculation is rife that the Congress might field Manish Khanduri from Pauri, a Lok Sabha seat held by his father.
Prakash Behera quits Congress
Meanwhile, Odisha’s Salipur MLA Prakash Behera became the fourth to resign from the primary membership of the Congress party. Earlier three MLAs – Nabakishore Das, Jogesh Singh and Krushna Chandra Sagaria had resigned from the Congress. With Behera’s resignation, the number of the Congress MLAs in the 147-member Odisha Assembly has come down to 11. In a letter to the Congress president, Behera said that he has decided to quit the party after being “ignored” by the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee leadership.
Balabhadra Majhi joins BJP
In a setback to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) ahead of the elections in Odisha, its Lok Sabha member Balabhadra Majhi who had resigned from the party claiming that he was “ignored and cheated”, joined BJP today. Welcoming him, Union Minister D Pradhan said, “Since Balbhadra ji is from railway background, he had developed a unique model by bringing together centre and state. You had given him the credit of enabling railway connectivity in Nabarangpur and Malkangiri. His party left him, he joined Modi Ji. We welcome him.”
Danish Ali joins BSP
JD(S) General Secretary Danish Ali, who until recently was involved in alliance negotiations with Congress and JD(S) in Karnataka, joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Lucknow. The development comes two days after the Congress-JD(S) coalition finalised seat sharing in Karnataka for the forthcoming Lok Sabha election. Of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies, the Congress will contest in 20 seats and the JD(S) will contest in the remaining 8 seats.
Shyama Charan Gupta joins SP
The Samajwadi Party Saturday announced the name of its one more candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. A party release issued said that Shyama Charan Gupta, who was a BJP MP and later joined SP, will be its candidate from Banda Lok Sabha seat.
Ram Prasad Sarmah leaves BJP
In a jolt to the BJP in Assam, its sitting MP from Tezpur Ram Prasad Sarmah announced that he quit the saffron fold and alleged neglect of old workers by “new intruders in the party”. Sarmah said he was resigning from the primary membership of the BJP after serving the RSS and VHP for 15 years and the BJP for 29 years.
“I have left BJP today. I really feel pained in my heart for those old BJP workers of Assam who are most neglected in the party by the new intruders in the party,” he said in a Facebook post.
Devi Singh Bhati quits BJP
Devi Singh Bhati from Bikaner also left BJP citing anti-party activities as a reason. He said, “I’ve resigned due to anti-party activities of Bikaner MP, Arjun Ram Meghwal. I told about this to all senior party leaders but it seems they have made up their mind to give him the ticket again.”