Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In the run-up to Lok Sabha polls, the Congress is having a tough time in finding winnable candidates, with some leaders unwilling to take the plunge and some others deserting the party to join its main rival BJP.
Battling election anxiety, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh took to microblogging website Twitter to accuse BJP of “engineering defections” and ask whether Narendra Modi is bigger than BJP and RSS.
In a Modi wave why is BJP engineering defections and giving seats to defectors?What happens to BJP loyalists? Modi bigger than BJP and RSS?
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) March 22, 2014
The Congress is fighting negative public perception and a demoralised cadre following a spate of opinion polls predicting a rout for the party in the coming elections.
Among the prominent Congress leaders who have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the run-up to Lok Sabha elections are Satpal Maharaj, Jagdambika Pal and D Purandeswari - three MPs who had won the 2009 election as Congress nominees.
In Madhya Pradesh, another state where it suffered a defeat for the third time in the Assembly Elections last year, the state unit has demanded that former chief minister Digvijay Singh should contest from Vidisha against leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj.
Singh recently became a member of the Rajya Sabha, along with several other senior leaders, giving rise to speculation that they were backing out from an electoral fight.
The Congress has also not shown dexterity in stitching up alliances. The Lok Janshakti Party, which was keen to be with the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections, walked into the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. The Congress could not cobble together any viable alliance in Tamil Nadu while the BJP has managed to have a multi-party alliance.
Congress leaders, privately, said that some leaders leaving the party on the eve of elections and joining BJP did help its opponent score brownie points in the heat of the election campaign and create a perception in its favour.
Officially, though, the party played down the desertions.
"Leaving and joining parties is commonplace closer to elections. There is no wave (in favour of BJP). The BJP is using all tactics to win over people and then give them tickets," party leader Shaktisinh Gohil told a news agency.
(With IANS inputs)