The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has often been accused of poaching by rivals, has seen infighting in Bengal over tickets being given to Trinamool Congress (TMC) turncoats.
Much to the dismay of Bengal BJP oldtimers, 46 turncoat candidates have been given tickets to contest the West Bengal Assembly elections 2021. Out of them, 13 are TMC leaders who had jumped ship just before the polls commenced.
The ruling Trinamool Congress has also fielded about 16 turncoat leaders for the 2021 Bengal elections.
Whether naming turncoat candidates to fight the high-octane polls will do more harm than good remains to be seen. However, a look at past elections and studying voter behaviour suggest that West Bengal has never so much favoured turncoat candidates.
In the 2016 West Bengal Assembly election, a total of 27 turncoat candidates had been fielded, including 23 from TMC and two from Congress, of whom only 12 had emerged victorious. Meaning, less than 50 percent of the candidates could win the trust of the voters.
Since the year 2001, 198 turncoat candidates from various parties have contested the West Bengal Assembly elections, of whom only 67 have won so far, reported India Today. Meaning, only 33.83 percent turncoats have seen success over the past four Bengal Assembly polls.
While some may argue that the strong anti-incumbency undercurrent would help the turncoats, data from the 2011 Assembly election – when the TMC ended 34 years of Left rule – suggests that voters still find it difficult to have faith in a leader who jumps sides. Out of a total of the 21 turncoat candidates who had been fielded in the 2011 election, only eight emerged victorious. However, if we look at just Trinamool numbers, the performance was not half as bad, with six out of the nine turncoats winning the election.
Come May 2, we will know if the 2021 Assembly elections will see a change in Bengal voters’ behaviour or if turncoats will once again cut a sorry figure.
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