Deccan Herald
Shemin Joy
New Delhi

Congress lost 222 of its candidates and 177 of its MLAs and MPs to other parties

The Congress lost 222 of its candidates and 177 of its MLAs and MPs, the highest for any political outfit, to other parties, while the BJP turned out as the biggest beneficiary attracting 253 candidates and 173 lawmakers to its fold in the past seven years since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister.

An analysis by private election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed that the BSP was the biggest victim after the Congress in defections with its 153 candidates and 20 lawmakers switching sides.

The BJP too lost 111 candidates to other parties while only 33 lawmakers from its fold left for other greener pastures for several reasons, including being sidelined, even as its ruling party status at the Centre helped it in attracting the highest number of leaders from other parties to its fold. Opposition parties had accused the BJP of using money power and misusing investigation agencies to weaken opponents.

The analysis is based on affidavits of 1,133 candidates and 500 MPs and MLAs, who changed parties and recontested elections during the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections since 2014.

While the Congress lost 222 leaders who had contested in its symbol earlier and its 177 MLAs and MPs left for other parties, including the BJP, the main Opposition party saw 115 candidates and 61 lawmakers joining them. The BSP had 65 candidates from other parties while 12 lawmakers join them between 2014 and 2021.

Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress lost 31 candidates and 26 lawmakers during the period but its strike rate in winning back or luring leaders from other parties was high as it managed to get 23 candidates and 31 lawmakers, many of them who had left Trinamool earlier, in its fold.

Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party lost 111 candidates and 12 MLAs and MPs to BJP and other parties but it managed to attract 29 candidates and 13 lawmakers from other parties to join its side. Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) lost 59 candidates and 12 lawmakers, while it managed to wean away 16 candidates who contested from rival parties and 12 lawmakers to its side.

While these parties lost big, regional parties like the DMK, YSR Congress, BJD and TRS gained while managing to plug leaks from its side. K Chandrashekhar Rao's TRS lost four candidates and as many lawmakers during the period but was a huge gainer at the end as it managed to get 12 candidates and 30 lawmakers from the opposite side.

YSR Congress, which is ruling Andhra Pradesh, lost three candidates and 16 lawmakers before the Assembly elections but it managed to bring 36 candidates and 24 lawmakers from rivals to its side. Naveen Patnaik-led BJD, which returned to power, managed to onboard 16 candidates and three lawmakers from the other side but lost only three candidates and six lawmakers.

H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S) lost 13 candidates and five MPs and MLAs to other parties in the past seven years but it managed to attract 13 candidates from other parties. Not a single MLA or MP joined the party during 2014-21.

It was mixed results for the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP as it weaned away 25 candidates and one lawmaker to its side, while losing 13 leaders who once contested in its symbol and 11 lawmakers who had once won from its ticket.

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