Hopping political parties, irrespective of ideologies, seems to have become a norm in Uttar Pradesh. In Allahabad (now Prayagraj), alone, there are at least half a dozen turncoats who have moved to rival parties just for tickets to the intensely-contested assembly elections.
Handia assembly seat is all set to witness a tug of war between sitting MLA Hakim Lal Bind, who recently joined Samajwadi Party (SP) and former SP MLA Prashant Singh Rahul, who is reported to be warming up to the Nishad Party, an alliance partner of the BJP. Prashant had won in 2013 on a Samajwadi ticket.
Similarly, when Mohammad Mujtaba, sitting MLA from Pratappur assembly seat joined SP after being denied a ticket by the BSP. Mujtaba is the SP candidate from Phulpur now.
And BJP’s Lallan Singh Patel hopped on to the BSP after the saffron party spurned a ticket to him. He is contesting from Allahabad West.
Ditto Amar Nath Maurya, a close associate of Swami Prasad Maurya, who quit the BJP to shake hands with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. Amar Nath now is the SP candidate from Allahabad West. There are several claimants for Allahabad West. There is sitting BJP MLA Siddharth Nath Singh, former AU student union chief Richa Singh, who is a BJP rebel candidate after being denied a ticket, besides Patel and Amar Nath.
Though Prayagraj seems to have been affected the most by the turncoat syndrome, several other regions in Uttar Pradesh are no exception — given that the 2022 election is being considered a referendum to the Narendra Modi Government.
Take Raniganj seat of the Pratapgarh district. Here, a former minister once considered loyal to the Samajwadis, Shivakant Ojha, has now joined BJP. While the party is yet to announce a candidate from here, there is already a scramble for a ticket from Raniganj.