At the time of elections, there is less talk of poll promises and more of which candidate will switch sides.
Politicians are on sale for crores – a living example of this is Operation Lotus.
Powers change when this comes into action, and it has happened in many states. Earlier Operation Lotus was a secret, now it is openly discussed. It’s important to know about the depth of this operation, it’s successful, unsuccessful states and funding of this lotus, because Indira Gandhi in her time relied on emergency to jail opposition and attack democracy.
Today, by use of money and fear of ED the opposition is done away with.
Himachal Pradesh poll is done, and now Gujarat election is incoming. Congress leaders are resigning getting tickets from BJP. Whereas BJP leaders who are denied tickets will run independently, and AAP alleges kidnapping of leader. Interesting bit of news is from Telangana by-poll recently, as Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao released video of poaching of MLAs.
100 crore budget claim and other benefits after switching party. When, out of nowhere, we suddenly find 100 rupees in our old jacket, it is such a joy, and here talk is of crores. KCR has decided to take this matter to the Supreme Court and involve CBI, ED too.
But, Operation Lotus is active now and it won’t be hard to tackle it – this politics of winning at any cost – the Saffronisation goal – one nation one party. It’s not rocket science how Operation Lotus works – simple fact is to get the majority mark. Mass defection in opposition is aimed for and support from independents to form government.
In India, anyway, the goal is winning, does not matter how victory is achieved.
Operation Lotus Successful
Operation Lotus has bagged the following successes –
- Karnataka, 2019: 17 congress – JDS MLAs defected and coalition power lost in Karnataka.
- Madhya Pradesh, 2020: Election in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan in 2018 – Congress won all three just before 2019 general elections – how could this be? MP had a very small margin to cover – Congress – 114, BJP – 109. Congress had 114 MLAs in 230 seats assembly, crossing threshold by support of SP, BSP, and the independent parties. Then, 22 MLAs of Congress resigned in March 2020, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, who joined BJP. Congress govt. in MP fell.
- Goa, 2017: Congress had 17 MLAs in Goa whereas BJP had 13 – majority mark was 21. But, then BJP played operation lotus and the Goa Forward Party, which was with Congress before election, sided with BJP after election.
- Arunachal Pradesh, 2016: BJP was unsuccessful in Arunachal Pradesh as they had 11 MLAs only in 60 seats assembly. Then, of 44 MLAs, 43 left Congress party and joined a new party PPA, which was BJP backed – under leadership of CM Pema Khandu. Later on, 32 of PPA joined BJP again under leadership of Pema Khandu, and BJP formed government in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Bihar, 2017: Nitish Kumar broke the grand alliance, left support of RJD and Congress. However, Nitish once again joined hands with RJD and Congress.
- Manipur, 2017: In 2017, Congress was the single largest party in Manipur, 28 seats in 60 members’ assembly. But, BJP with merely 21 seats formed govt. after 9 Congress MLAs switched party. Congress became the opposition.
- Maharashtra, 2022: This will be taught in books how an entire party was broken.
- This is not just for winning states, but also for securing Rajya Sabha seats. How Operation Lotus worked in Gujarat, for example: Opposition 8 congress MLAs quit so that it could not vote in president election. Of 4 RS seats, BJP won 3 and Congress only 1, because those 8 MLAs quit Congress.
But it’s not that Operation Lotus has been successful everywhere; many a time it has been unsuccessful too.
- Rajasthan, 2020: Sachin Pilot was quite upset with party leadership and CM position. Ashok Gehlot had gathered his supporters in a hotel. BJP closely observed this rebellion but did not act on it because they were waiting to see how many MLAs supported Pilot, so that there was a possibility of another Operation Lotus.
- Maharashtra, 2019: Before Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress coalition came to power, Devendra Fadnavis took early morning oath with Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar. But Devendra Fadnavis had to resign soon as Sharad Pawar entered the picture.
- West Bengal 2019: In a rally in West Bengal, PM Modi said that he had 40 TMC MLAs in touch. In 2020 Mamata Banerjee said that BJP was trying to topple her govt. That time nobody believed her. But before election, 34 TMC MLAs switched to BJP. Yet, TMC won and BJP lost, but only recently Suvendu Adhikari said in a rally that in 2024 Mamata Banerjee govt. will no more be in power. “After Maharashtra, crisis on cards for Jharkhand, Rajasthan; TMC govt. will also collapse.” – Suvendu Adhikari, BJP’s State President openly declaring about Operation Lotus.
May be that is why it feels Kejriwal and Sisodia were not lying when they claimed in October of poaching AAP MLAs in Delhi – 43 MLAs at 5-25 crore each.
Similar scenario was in Jharkhand too.
BJP needs 13 MLAs to form govt. Hemen Soren has accused BJP of destabilizing his govt. Congress MLA Anoop Singh claimed that he has been offered 10 crore to topple Soren govt., he was about to be taken to Guwahati to meet CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and discuss the further calculations. 3 other MLAs of Congress got the same offer, claimed Anoop Singh. Coincidentally, IT raids on Anoop Singh followed.
Operation Lotus: Its Impact
Our Constitution has an anti-defection law, but legal loophole and money power are mocking the Constitution. The anti-defection law punishes individual Members of Parliament (MPs)/MLAs for leaving one party for another. It is also mocking the voters. A voter would feel cheated if a candidate switched party after winning. May be that is why NOTA votes increased from 2018-2022. What if people stop voting altogether?
This is also affecting and mocking our federal structure – regional parties and leaders lack money and resources. So regional structure and issues are impacted, and national issues become focus. Also needless to say how it’s mocking the democracy.
Operation Lotus: How to tackle this?
- Alert and Quick Action – It is necessary to be alert. Uddhav Thackeray was unaware when half of his party members were approached. Examples in Goa and Northeast show that timely action is important, whereas in Rajasthan and Jharkhand quick action saved Governments.
- Hunger – Hunger for power should be there to be alert, and keep that power to serve people.
- Reverse Dirty Game – Can this happen in reverse? If it does it will send a strong and clear message.
- Moral Stand – Also a moral stand is required. People have to decide that those who switched sides should not win again.
- Electoral Bonds – The issue of electoral bonds is still not known to people – have you tried communicating?
- Social media propaganda – Social media was mastered by BJP years before. Can other parties gain anything on these social networking platforms?
Unless there is aggressive countering and exposing of this Operation, things won’t change – more headlines will appear while there is a bigger picture.
[Images from different sources]
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