Meet the ‘Congress’ flock-keepers who walked away

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BY ANINDYA BANERJEE

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) In the very first of BJP’s Rajya Sabha list, two names stood out by their mere irony — Bhubanshwar Kalita and Jyotiraditya Scindia — both former Chief Whips meant to keep the Congress’ flock together, who themselves deserted the mother ship.

Bhubaneshwar Kalita:

Kalita, a former Congressman and now a BJP member has been named a BJP Rajya Sabha candidate from Assam. He aspires to go on a BJP ticket to the same Upper House, where he was the Congress’s chief whip.
He resigned from the House in August last year, opposing the party’s stand on the government’s decisions on Jammu and Kashmir. Immediately after the government abrogated Article 370, on August 5, 2019, Congress went on an offensive. Kalita, who was meant to keep the entire Congress members in the Upper House in order was not happy with his party’s stand and called Congress’s opposition to the abrogation a ‘clear path of self-destruction’.
What’s more? While he was asked to issue a whip on the matter, he rebelled. “I was asked by the party to issue a whip but this is against the mood of the nation. The party as it is, is on its way towards downhill and I can’t be a contributor to it,” he said in a letter.
Soon, he joined the BJP and now a BJP candidate for the upper house.

Jyotiraditya Scindia:

Scindia didn’t whip Guna in the 2019 General Election. However, he was Congress’s chief whip in the 16th Lok Sabha. Scindia was responsible to strategise, outmaneuver the opposition and put Congress’s best foot forward. After the Congress lost the 2014 General Election, Sonia Gandhi named him the party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha.
But his disinterest with his former party started much before the general election in 2019. Back in 2018, when Congress unseated the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath was chosen as the Chief Minister, giving a cold shoulder to Scindia. All he got was a philosophical advice from Rahul Gandhi to have “patience”. Nath along with Digvijay Singh, both of whom had to launch their son’s political career, further ensured Scindia did not become the state Congress chief.
Disgruntled, the man who was once tasked to keep the Congress flock together, launched anti-BJP offensive resigned on Tuesday and joined the BJP the next day. He accused his former party of “living in denial”.
He was immediately taken to J.P. Nadda’s suite in 6A Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg to sign documents. Decks were already cleared a night before, for his name as BJP Rajya Sabha candidate from Madhya Pradesh.
There can be endless discussions on what’s ailing the grand old party, but the fact remains that two of Congress’ most seasoned parliamentary brains that led the Congress in both houses are now with the BJP.

(Anindya Banerjee can be reached at anindya.b@ians.in)

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