De­par­tures & Ar­rivals

India Today - - STATES -

Ra­jasthan/ Mad­hya Pradesh

Elec­tions in­vari­ably kick off the de­fec­tion sea­son. And it’s no dif­fer­ent this time in Ra­jasthan. Chief Min­is­ter Va­sund­hara Raje was the first mover, poach­ing the Congress party dy­nast Ashok Sharma, who is in­ci­den­tally the son of for­mer Congress min­is­ter Ban­wari Lal (who trounced her in Dholpur in 1993, her only elec­toral de­feat). Then came the oth­ers. Ma­hesh Pratap Singh Chauhan, a one-time sup­porter of for­mer Congress min­is­ter C.P. Joshi, fol­lowed Sharma into the BJP. The Congress too has done quite well in lur­ing in the big fish. On Oc­to­ber 17, for­mer BJP for­eign min­is­ter Jaswant Singh’s leg­is­la­tor son,

Man­ven­dra Singh, shed his ‘saf­fron’ robes. He was fol­lowed by ex-BJP min­is­ter Usha Poo­nia, the party’s Jaipur dis­trict chief Mool Chand Meena and the Na­gaur dis­trict pres­i­dent, Bindu Chaudhary.

The sit­u­a­tion is no bet­ter in neigh­bour­ing MP. In­deed, Chief Min­is­ter Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s brother-in-law San­jay

Singh Masani him­self joined the Congress in Delhi on Novem­ber 3 in the pres­ence of

Ka­mal Nath and Jy­oti­ra­ditya Scin­dia. Masani ap­par­ently was peeved at be­ing de­nied a BJP ticket from Waraseoni con­stituency in Balaghat. While ex­it­ing, Masani made it a point to com­ment that “Shivraj Chouhan has been CM for 13 years. It’s enough, now some­one else should hold of­fice”. He also praised Nath, sit­ting next to him, for his “Ch­hind­wara model of de­vel­op­ment”. Fac­ing steady at­tri­tion in the state, the BJP fi­nally man­aged a de­cent catch, Prem Singh Guddu, a for­mer Congress MP from Uj­jain. He is a long-time loy­al­ist of ex-CM Digvi­jaya Singh.

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