To frustrate the opposition before the Uttar Pradesh assembly election, the BJP has come up with a plan called “Operation 100”, under which it has prepared a list of 100 politicians from other parties, primarily those from the Samajwadi Party (SP), BSP and INC. Reporters caught the first glimpse of it in Lucknow on 17 November when four sitting members of the SP’s Legislative Council broke away and joined the BJP.
The BJP strategy entails bringing 100 politicians of other parties, which the state unit has shared with the central leadership of the party, which has approved of the move, said sources in the organisation. It means in other words, they said, that more turncoats were likely to join the ruling party in the near future.
According to the member of the BJP committee that is officiating over the dissensions in other parties, Dayashankar Singh, who is also the state vice-president, many big names from other parties will soon be seen in the BJP fold. These leaders include sitting MLAs, MLCs, former ministers, former MLAs among other strong opposition leaders.
In the past few days, there was an influx of leaders of opposition parties into the SP. Several leaders of the BSP and INC appeared keen on riding Akhilesh Yadav’s bicycle. But even as the Uttar Pradesh election is a few months away, the tide has turned, said a source in the BJP.
Yadav had attracted BJP’s sitting MLA Rakesh Rathore from Sitapur. The BJP ‘retaliated’ by first drawing an SP MLA and, on Wednesday, four MLCs.
SP’s MLCs Narendra Bhati, Rama Niranjan, CP Chand and Ravi Shankar Singh alias Pappu have joined BJP. Although 10 MLCs had earlier joined the BJP, some of them dragged their feet over the issue until given the solid assurance of positions in the dispensation, sources said.
The BJP has planned to go about engineering coup in opposition camps gradually, a source said. The party will continue to add a few opposition leaders at a time, spacing out the announcements in intervals of a day or two so that an impression of a constant erosion in the rival camps gains ground in the public psyche. The ruling party is making sure, a source said, that the weathercocks have sound political bases and the ability to win elections.