BJP loses 7 leaders to Congress party?

Dec 20, 2011, 07:32 IST | Varun Singh

Rumour mills are abuzz with the news that several BJP corporators have made overtures to the competing faction, after the latter performed well in the recently concluded municipal council polls

Polls and fair-weather friends go hand in hand. The political grapevine is ripe with the news that not one, not two, but seven BJP corporators are moving stealthily in the direction of the Congress camp.

Countdown begins? A BJP worker cuts branches of a tree to put up an
upside-down party flag in the suburbs. File pic

This could spell doom for the BJP ahead of the approaching BMC polls. The party has a mere count of 29 corporators in the city.

According to party insiders, seven corporators went and met the city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh and some other top-notch party leaders recently. According to a BJP functionary, the stalwart corporator from Ghatkopar -- Pravin Chedda -- and six other prominent BJP leaders made overtures towards the Congress party. Chedda, however, vehemently denied having left the BJP. Asked why he had met with Singh, Chedda said, "There are many people who meet Singh, and so did I. I am with the BJP, but there are also rumours that I may join the MNS. All this is hearsay and shouldn't be believed."

The rumour mills are also working on overdrive with the news that Mulund corporator Manoj Kotak has expressed willingness to join the Congress party. Kotak too denied the report, saying, "All this is rubbish. I am not quitting BJP. I am a strong candidate for the party."

Space crunch
Sources claim that some of the prominent party corporators are contemplating changing camps, as their seats have been reserved for women under the new system. Even their neighbouring constituencies have stronger contenders from within the party, leaving them with no secure place.

"All this is forcing leaders to seek greener and more spacious pastures. Many corporators who lost their seats to reservation and then eyed the neigbouring wards. But they are now trying their luck with different parties," said a BJP leader.
Meanwhile, a Congress party member claimed that many prominent members from different political parties have been vying for entry into their hallowed circles. Nizammudin Rayeen, Congress spokesperson for the city, said, "It's true that many political leaders from NCP, BJP and other political parties want to cross over to our side.
After the house (assembly) closes down, we will undertake a drive, in course of which we will welcome members of other parties into our fold."

He claimed that the recent success of the Congress party in the municipal council polls had changed the direction of the currents in political circles, making political leaders question their allegiance.

"We fared better than the BJP-Sena combine during the municipal council polls. This has given a fresh lease of life to the party, and we are sure that we will fare very well in the municipal corporation polls. No wonder members from other parties are trying to cross over to our side," said Rayeen. 

 A BJP insider said confidentially that the party was experiencing a trying phase, especially since its performance had not been satisfactory in the recently conducted polls. "If people start unceremoniously abandoning the party, it will be difficult for us to retain most of our seats," he said.

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