The Politics of Defection

The fall of Karnataka coalition: Charges of Horse-trading

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With the fall of Karnataka coalition government of Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) and Indian National Congress (INC) on Tuesday, the charges of “unscrupulous horse trading” are being leveled against the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).

After the coalition partners got only 99 votes to BJP’s 105 in the trust vote, the INC blamed the BJP for offering huge amounts of black money and ministerial positions to defected MLAs. The entire issue began when 16 legislators — 13 from INC and three from JDS — resigned earlier this month.

Reports of defections to BJP had been doing the rounds since the formation of the coalition government last year and gained prominent attention in January this year.

Karnataka is not the only state where the legislators have been defecting to BJP or resigning from the legislature. Take the case in point of West Bengal and Bihar.

West Bengal: TMC MLA along with 18 councilors to join BJP

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A Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA, Wilson Champramary, from Alipurduar’s Kalchini constituency told the media that he, along with 18 councilors, is preparing to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Many more will join BJP and are in contact with party high command,” Champramary said.

In the Lok Sabha elections BJP had won 18 seats leaving TMC with only 22 seats in West Bengal. After the elections, three MLAs from West Bengal including Trinamool Congress-turned-BJP leader Mukul Roy’s son Subhrangshu Roy and 50 more councilors had joined BJP.

Earlier in June, 15 TMC councilors along with a legislator joined the Bharatiya Janata Party as well.

Congress MLAs in Goa join BJP saving themselves from Anti-defection law

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Earlier this month, 10 Congress MLAs in Goa merged with BJP making saffron party’s strength in Goa Assembly 27, from 17 in the 40-seat house.

Goa Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant, announced the news that 10 of the 15 MLAs of Congress had decided to merge with BJP and the number was enough to save them from the anti-defection law.

Congress, which won 15 seats in Goa, was limited to 5 seats in the assembly. With 27 seats, BJP did not need any allies.

Although after 2017 assembly polls, BJP had 13 seats while Congress had 17 but BJP outsmarted the Congress by cobbling together a quick alliance.