Operation Lotus in RS: Two former MPs from SP join BJP

Operation Lotus in RS: Two former MPs from SP join BJP

Repeating a pattern, two Samajwadi Party leaders, who had quit their party and Rajya Sabha membership early this week, joined the BJP on Saturday and are likely to be fielded by the saffron party in up-coming Rajya Sabha polls. File photo

Repeating a pattern, two Samajwadi Party leaders, who had quit their party and Rajya Sabha membership early this week, joined the BJP on Saturday and are likely to be fielded by the saffron party in up-coming Rajya Sabha polls.

Surendra Singh Nagar, a two-time Member of Parliament (first Lok Sabha MP from Gautam Budh Nagar and then from Rajya Sabha) and Sanjay Seth, a well-known realtor, who had quit their party and Rajya Sabha Memberships on August 2 and August 5 respectively, joined the BJP at its national headquarters on Saturday.

Mutual praise followed and so was the customary criticism of the previous party they represented. BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav said Nagar has been an important leader in Uttar Pradesh, while the two SP leaders hailed the leadership of Narendra Modi and lauded the government’s decision to revoke provisions of Article 370 and Article 35A in Jammu.

Earlier BJP this week declared the Rajya Sabha candidature of another former SP leader Neeraj Shekhar, son of late Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, who quit SP a fortnight ago to join the BJP the very next day.

BJP has named Shekhar as its candidate for the August 26 by-poll necessitated by his resignation. So within a month of having resigned as Rajya Sabha member, Shekhar will be nominated for the remaining term of his Rajya Sabha but as a member of a different party.

The pattern is identical to Operation Lotus that the BJP had implemented in Karnataka during the first tenure of B S Yeddyurappa in 2008, when a number of Congress MLAs were made to resign to bring down the strength of the Assembly and were later accommodated in the BJP.

Even in 2019 when Congress - JDS government fell after a group of MLAs from both parties, both parties had alleged that it was Operation Lotus 3:0.

In Rajya Sabha, the BJP has formulated a multi-pronged strategy to shore up its numbers. It directly inducts people of any party that has single MP in the Upper House (as in case of INLD’s Ram Kashyap in June). Or two-third of Rajya Sabha members of parties defect to the BJP (as in case of TDP the same month). In the cases where these are not possible, Rajya Sabha members from other parties are lured into resigning and are fielded by the BJP (as in case of three members from SP and two members from Congress).

Congress Rajya Sabha member from Assam Sanjay Sinh’s tenure was to end in 2020. He quit on July 30 ahead of some crucial bills coming before Rajya Sabha and Congress trying to put up an Opposition unity in the Upper House, where the BJP lacked numbers.

Recent desertions

August 10- Rajya Sabha members from Samajwadi Party Surendra Nagar and Sanjay Seth quit their party and membership of Upper House on August 2 and August 5 respectively. They join the BJP on August 10.

August 9- Bhubaneswar Kalita, Congress Chief Whip in Rajya Sabha, who had on August 5 announced quitting from Congress and Rajya Sabha opposing his party’s stand on Article 370, joined BJP on August 9.

July 30:  Rajya Sabha member of Congress Sanjay Singh, who hails from the Amethi royal family, resigns from the party. Next day he joins the BJP.

July 15: Samajwadi Party (SP) Rajya Sabha member Neeraj Shekhar resigns from the Rajya Sabha. He joins the BJP on July 16 and on August 9 BJP names him as its candidate for Rajya Sabha by-poll in UP.

June 26:  Lone Rajya Sabha MP from lone Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Ram Kumar Kashyap, joins the BJP.

June 20: Four of six TDP MPs— Y S Chowdary, C M Ramesh, Garikapati Mohan Rao and T G Venkatesh,  announced quitting their party and joined the BJP in New Delhi.

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