By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-07-13 20:12:19
Even as Rajasthan is witnessing political drama, elsewhere in Madhya Pradesh defectors are being rewarded big time. Shivraj Singh Chouhan has finally allotted the portfolios in his cabinet and the loyalists of Jyotiraditya Scindia, the former Congressman whose defection to the BJP caused the fall of Kamal Nath's government in the state a few months back have been allotted 41 percent of the ministries, including some key ones.
The biggest reward has been to Narottam Mishra, a Scindia loyalist, as he retains the home portfolio, although he had to cede the charge of the health ministry to another Scindia loyalist Dr. Prabhuram Choudhary. Other defectors to get important portfolios were Pradyumna Singh Tomar (energy), Mahendra Singh Sisodia (panchayat and rural development) and Imarti Devi (women and child development department).
The timing of the distribution of portfolios in Madhya Pradesh will not be lost on the fence-sitters in Rajasthan. When they see their ex-party men being solidly rewarded for bringing the BJP to power (as they were also rewarded in Karnataka) they might be tempted to make up their mind to go for it in Rajasthan too. Already, 20 MLAs (a number not enough to cause the government to fall) were missing from the CLP meeting at Ashok Gehlot's house today. There might be more who might break rank now.
All the talk about clean politics has no meaning unless something is done about giving ministerial or other government posts (like chairmanship of any state corporation with perks similar to a cabinet rank minister) to recent defectors. A cooling-off period must be inbuilt in the anti-defection law to prevent defections for gain. Anyone who defects on the basis of ideological differences must be prepared to wait for a given length of time before taking part in the government or handling other administrative posts. That is the only way to prevent the absurd spectacle of aaya rams and gaya rams toppling elected governments.