By Linus Garg
What is happening in Madhya Pradesh? After what happened in Karnataka, there was a buzz that Congress governments in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will be under pressure. But with two BJP MLAs voting for the Congress on a bill moved by the ruling party, the scenario is just the opposite, at least in MP. Sharad Kol and Narayan Tripathi, who had joined the BJP after leaving the Congress, voted for the Congress's Advocate Protection Act Bill. The bill was drafted 15 years ago as MP lawyers were demanding it but it was never tabled in the 15 years of Shivraj Chouhan's tenure.
The cross-voting by the two members has embarrassed the BJP, especially after BJP leader Gopal Bhargava, who is the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, had boasted that he can bring down the Kamal Nath government any time if the party high command gives the order. Further trouble was expected for the party after the canny Namdeo Das Tyagi, popularly known as 'Computer Baba' revealed that four more BJP legislators were in touch with him to cross over. He said he would bring them under the Congress fold if Kamal Nath gives the go-ahead. Although Tyagi is given to making outrageous claims, as things stand today, this is one thing he could be right about.
The developments in MP should make the BJP review its policy of accepting everyone willing to cross over from other parties. It is true that people like Himanta Biswa Sharma in Assam and Mukul Roy in West Bengal have been assets to the party and have helped it to gain a foothold in states where it had a negligible presence, but they are exceptions. Most other turncoats cannot be relied upon, as the MP developments prove. In West Bengal too, several of those who had crossed over from the Trinamool Congress changed their minds some days later.
The party is banking upon the Congress and JD(S) rebels to form the government in Karnataka. It would be a huge mistake to do so as these turncoats will create more problems for the party rather than solve any. For one, it will create disenchantment in the party if these turncoats are given prominence ahead of those who have spent many years building the party. The party should wait till the bypolls and see if the people elect these turncoats on BJP tickets. The BJP has an ideology that cannot be imbibed in a few days, especially by people bred on the Congress or regional party culture. Other than temporarily weakening the other parties, the indiscriminate acceptance of such turncoats is not going to benefit the BJP. It should think of better ways to strengthen the party rather than doing so by poaching leaders from other parties.