An analysis of MLAs who switched parties and recontested elections from 2016 to 2020 has found that the BJP was the biggest gainer, while the Congress accounted for the most MLAs who quit to join another party.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report released on Thursday analysed the election affidavits of 443 MLAs and MPs who switched parties and recontested polls in the past five years. Out of the 405 MLAs across the States who quit and switched parties, 42% were from the Congress, the report found, while the BJP came in a distant second with 4.4%.
On the other hand, the BJP was the party of choice for 44.9% of the recontesting MLAs, followed by the Congress with 9.4%. The report noted that the defection of MLAs was the cause of governments in Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh and Karnataka falling in the recent past.
Out of the 12 Lok Sabha members who switched parties, five were from the BJP. In the Rajya Sabha, out of 17 who quit, seven were from the Congress, the report said. The average assets of the recontesting MLAs and MPs had grown by 39%.
Most plausible cause of defections
The ADR report stated that the most plausible cause of defections were the nexus of money and muscle, absence of laws on the functioning of parties and the last of honest leaders, among others.
“Until and unless these trends are not reined in, our current electoral and political situation is bound to deteriorate further… It will be a mockery of democracy if we fail to plug these loopholes because of which such defections, changing/switching of party by MPs and MLAs are happening. It is high time that our political parties and politicians put an end to the ‘politics of convenience and selfgain’ and start practicing ‘politics of conviction, courage and consensus’,” the report said.