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The other high-profile defection, which warranted a press conference, was that of former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
Months before the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, Joshi, who after unsuccessfully contesting parliamentary elections twice managed to win only an MLA seat from Lucknow cantonment, announced her decision to join the BJP in a press conference with BJP chief Amit Shah.
While her exit from the Congress wasn’t thought to have either gained the BJP significantly or hurt the already low prospects of the Congress, it was only a disadvantage to the Grand Old Party on a psychological level, according to The Wire.
However by siding with the BJP, Joshi outdid herself in the 2017 Assembly election and defeated Samajwadi Party’s Aparna Yadav. She is now a minister in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet.
Before Joshi, former Bahujan Samajwadi Party leader Swami Prasad Maurya had also joined the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Maurya, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly before he quit the BSP, joined the BJP in the presence of party president Amit Shah at the BJP headquarters. He even won the Padrauna seat with 93,649 votes. After him, Brajesh Pathak, a senior BSP leader and a prominent Brahmin face in the party also decided to join the BJP.
After winning Uttar Pradesh, the BJP started looking south, where its presence is still scant. In preparation for Karnataka polls, the BJP inducted former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna in March 2017.
Of all the southern states, the BJP is closest to power in Karnataka. It is now trying to improve its strength with the induction of leaders from other parties, according to NDTV.
The departure of a leader as experienced as Krishna would have also wreaked damage on the Congress, but in a subtle psychological way rather than in direct electoral terms. The BJP is expected to benefit from Krishna’s knowledge of the Congress.
After Krishna, former MP M Shivanna also decided to quit Congress and join the BJP. Shivanna decided to join the BJP, along with his supporters, citing unhappiness with the Congress leadership.
While, BJP’s model of poaching leaders of other parties has worked well for Uttar Pradesh, it possibly started with Assam.
Former health and education minister and a close confidant of former chief minister Tarun gogoi, Himanta Biswa Sarma joined the BJP in 2015. Sarma’s joining the BJP sent shivers through the rank and file of the ruling Congress party.
Sarma became the convener of BJP’s Election Management Committee for the 2016 Assembly elections in Assam. He is the face of the party for the entire North East and the convener of the North East Democratic Alliance, the BJP-led alliance of non-Congress parties of the North East. He is also known as the party’s chief Machiavelli there.
Another prominent entrant has been V Srinivasa Prasad, a Dalit leader from Mysuru, who was dumped by Siddaramaiah from his ministry. This move was also seen as a jolt to the ruling Congress in the state.
Prasad was BJP’s candidate for the Nanjangud by polls. However, after losing the election, he announced his retirement from electoral politics.
The BJP also came to power earlier this year without contesting any election after chief minister Pema Khandu decided to switch loyalties. He shifted to the BJP with 33 legislators. It was an easy win for the BJP, who had supported Khandu after the Peoples’ Party of Arunachal temporarily suspended him, his deputy Chowna Mein, and five MLAs for alleged anti-party activities.
Apart from these legislators, who have benefitted the saffron party in one way or the other, there are reports of others joining the BJP soon.
There are speculations that Congressman Narayan Rane may cross over to the BJP after he met Maharashtra Tourism Minister and BJP MLA Jaykumar Rawal.
While Shankersinh Vaghela announced his decision to quit the Congress, he also announced that he doesn’t plan on joining any other political party. However, there are speculations that Amit Shah was the mastermind behind his grand exit.