January 19, 2014

THE REBELS OF THE SAFFRON BRIGADE


THE FIVE FORMER BJP CMs WHO QUIT THE PARTY



Last week, former Karnataka CM and Shimoga strongman B S Yeddyurappa rejoined the BJP (Link), an year after he had joined the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) prior to the 2013 state elections. In fact, after the drubbing that it received in the polls and having been relegated to the third spot, the saffron outfit was left with no leader with the ability to garner votes. At the same time considering the lack luster debut that Yeddy's party had, there were doubts raised over his political future and clear question marks on his hold over the Lingayats. As such, the coming together of Yeddy and his former party is seen as a win-win situation for both. Like BSY, here's a look at five former BJP CMs who had or have quit the part at some point of time.

Madanlal Khurana: Khurana along with Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Kedarnath Sahani was one of the founding members of the BJP in the national capital. Having been the President of the ABVP, he rose through the ranks from he grass roots to become the Chief Minister of Delhi in 1993. However, three years later he was replaced by Jat leader Saheb Singh Verma after his name figured in the hawala scam. In 2003, he was named as the party's CM candidate by the then party President Venkaiah Naidu. In the last leg of his political career, he won the battle as he bagged the Moti Nagar constituency while losing the war - the BJP won 20 seats whereas the INC increased its tally to 47. The former Union minister was later made the Governor of Rajasthan. He was expelled for the first time from the party in 2005 after he lashed out at L K Advani for his comments on the Kandahar hijacking. Brought back two months later after he expressed regret over his earlier remarks. In 2007, he was suspended yet again; this time for sharing stage with Uma Bharati who had formed the Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party (BJS) after being shown the door from the saffron outfit. After his negotiations to rejoin the BJP failed, he formally joined the BJS. In April 2008 though, he came back to the party after disagreements with Bharati. While Khurana senior has retired from active politics today, his sons Vimal and Harish are members of the party in Delhi. After they were denied ticket in the 2013 polls, is has been speculated that it may well be the end of the Khurana dynasty.

Keshubahi Patel: Long before Narendra Modi, Keshubhai was the face of the party in Gujarat. After severing as a minister in various state cabinets over the years, he became the CM for the first time in 1995. However his tenure was short lived; Shankersinh Vaghela split the BJP and formed the government with the support of the Congress. In 1999, he led the saffron party to a spectacular victory in the state and was made the Chief Minister for the second time. In 2001, he came under criticism for mismanagement of relief work post the Bhuj earthquake, besides the allegations of corruption and abuse of power. Finally, he was asked to step down, being replaced by Narendra Modi and the rest, as they say is history. In 2002, he was elected to Rajya Sabha from his home state. His first sign of dissidence came in 2007 when he openly targeted Modi during campaigning, asking his community to vote for a change. As the BJP romped home to power, his stature further declined. In 2012 though, he went a step further launching the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP). Days before the elections, it was believed that the veteran would hit Modi hard and damage his prospects in many places. Much to his displeasure, the Modi wave was unstoppable. Keshubhai was one of the two GPP candidates who won. After his victory, the Hindutva icon extended an olive branch to the GPP chief and went to take his blessings personally. It may not be surprising that Patel rejoins the BJP in the days to come.

Kalyan Singh: One of the most controversial CMs in the party's history, Singh was at the helm of affairs in Uttar Pradesh during the infamous Babri Masjid demolition in December 1991. Following the incident, he resigned and the BJP government in the state was dismissed. In September 1997, he become the CM for the second time and continued for nearly two years. In 1999, he left the BJP to form the Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP), accusing the then PM Vajpayee of orchestrating a revolt against him. In the 2002, he allied with the Samajwadi Party and won 4 seats. On the eve of the 204 Lok Sabha, he was back into the BJP. It was believed that his entry would help the saffron outfit do well here. While he won the Etah seat, the BJP's performance was pathetic, finishing with a tally of 10. In 2007, he led the party in the state polls and his below average performance pushed him to the sidelines. In 2009, he had a second fallout with the BJP. He joined hands with Mulayum and campaigned for him in 2009. The move backfired for Yadav as the Muslims who associate the Lodh leader with the Babri demolition, voted for the Congress. The SP chief publicly accepted that allying with Kalyan was a mistake, much to the embarrassment of the former CM. Singh launched another start-up - the Jan Krani Party (JS) which was another disaster, . Finally, he has rejoined the BJP and is working hard to make a mark for his son Raj Vir in state politics.

Babulal Marandi: A former primary teacher with RSS background, Marandi came into prominence in 1996 when he came close to defeating Shibu Soren from the Dumka MP seat. In the next national polls though, the Santhal leader did take revenge by beating the JMM supremo as the BJP won 12 out of the 14 seats from the Jharkhand region of the then undivided state of Bihar. A minister in the Vajpayee cabinet, he served as the first Chief Minister of the newly formed state after its inception in 2000. At the height of his political career, there was a section in the party that believed that he was getting larger than it and had to be cut to size. As such, he was replaced by Arjun Munda in 2003. In 2004, he was the only BJP MP to win from the state; in fact even Yashwant Singh was unable to retain his seat. After the debacle in 2004, he was open in his criticism of the functioning of the state government. Things reached a tipping point in 2006 when he quit the saffron party to form the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha - Prajatantrik (JVM - P). He won from Giridh in 2006 by-polls and later in 2009 too. Marandi is fast emerging as one of the most important players in the state; with 11 seats, the JVM-P is the third largest party in the legislative assembly behind the BJP and JMM. Earlier there were reports that Modi was trying hard to woo the Santhal leader with a clean public image to rejoin the party. However, he has made it clear that he will not take any such move in the near future.

Uma Bharati: Raised by Vijay Raje Scindia, Uma was an important member of the Ayodhya movement. She entered politics in her twenties and handled various portfolios in the NDA government. The Hindutva poster girl was on the pinnacle of her political life when she led the party to a fabulous victory in the key state of Madhya Pradesh in 2003 wining a whopping three-fourths majority. The sanyasin was made the Chief Minister but had to resign just an year into office after an arrest warrant was issued against her in the Hubli riot case. In November 2004, she hit out at Advani in front of the media during a party function and was issued a show cause notice. However, she was later let off after the intervention of the RSS. In course of time, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, her bete noire in MP was put on the CM's chair. This further infuriated here. In 2006 she launched the Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party (BJS) and contested elections in several states. However, her performance was average; in MP she could only get 4 seats. In 2010, she was re-inducted into the saffron party and two years later named the face of the UP campaign. Again, her magic failed to woo the voters here. Today, she is the Vice President of the BJP.