More ‘departures’ may give BJP a tough time in the hill state.


New Delhi: Uttarakhand minister Yashpal Arya and his son defected to Congress recently in what is being seen as defection politics gaining momentum in the state. If it continues, the BJP may be facing a big challenge in the hill state. The development is also being seen as a big dent to the BJP in north India which is supposed to be the strongest citadel of the saffron outfit. This is not only the issue of a minister and his son quitting BJP, but it is a challenge as well for the strongest ever leadership of the party. The development has exposed groupism in BJP in Uttarakhand. If the Congress manages to persuade more ministers like this, then the BJP may face a similar situation in other states as well.

However, media in-charge Anil Baluni is claiming that the party will respond to Congress with some action soon. Is Baluni hinting at what happened last time when the BJP had managed to trigger a massive defection from the Congress? Despite being weak this time, the Congress succeeded in giving the defection setback to BJP. The former Congress leaders who are in BJP will try to be in power, no matter which party is in a position to fulfill their ambitions. With this in view, the Congress may offer them something substantial to those seeking to switch sides. Though the defection may be dismissed by some as something insignificant, it has certainly pressed an alarm bell for the BJP.

Defections are being seen in north-east states where TMC is on the job. Even the BJP has got power in some states after defections. The saffron party has so far succeeded in engineering defections only because it is strong at the central level and the Opposition is weak. But the setback for BJP began with the Bengal defeat. After winning in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) started working on the “BJP formula” of defection politics and persuaded many saffron party leaders to join Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. TMC is doing the same in Tripura, Manipur and Goa.

What concerns the BJP ahead of next year’s Assembly elections is a possible move of the Opposition to dent it in other states. BJP seems to be benefiting from a divided opposition in Uttar Pradesh. What remains to be seen is how BJP uses Amarinder Singh to gain some ground in Punjab. The decision to extend BSF’s power in bordering states, including Punjab, has heated up politics in the state. No leader is supporting this decision, except Amarinder Singh. So, the situation will change in Punjab.

Uttarakhand will be an interesting turf where Congress has nothing to lose. But the state is giving anxious moments to BJP which has tried to create a new leadership after appointing Pushkar Singh Dhami as Chief Minister. At the same time, Baluni, who hails from Garhwal, is also active in a bid to take a leadership role.  With new faces leading from the front, senior ones such as Ramesh Pokhriyal, Trivendra Singh Rawat and Tirath Singh Rawat may have the feeling of being neglected. With these three former CMs apparently not being given importance, the Congress may try to exploit the situation electorally.

A tussle has begun between old and new leaders of BJP. CMs were changed because of this tussle only. If Congress fights polls unitedly, the BJP may be in trouble. The BJP will fight the upcoming elections, banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  The BJP will try to cash in on the fact that NSA Ajit Doval and CDS Bipin Rawat belong to Garhwal. That’s where the Congress lags behind.