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Political party run by Supremo, controlled by single voice 'always looks for' turncoats

By Sudhansu R Das 

In a democratic country a politician is free to choose a party of his choice. If he does not like the party’s ideology or its leadership, he can change his party which is not an unethical political behavior. But, if a politician changes his party at an opportune moment for enjoying power, it erodes people’s trust on democratic system.
Over decades, turncoat politicians have become the biggest threat to democracy; they have eroded the ideological base of many a political parties and stunted the growth of dedicated cadres in to potential leaders. This adversely affects people’s moral and the governance of the country suffers.
Though political leaders think that with immense money power they could woo turncoats to make or break a government, actually they do irreparable damage to their own party; those who work for the party selflessly, start asking money for their contribution to the party.
When work is done on the basis of payment, all ideologies dissolve. The price tag environment does not suit all; many dedicated cadres become dormant or leave the party. Continuation of single voice or Supremo for a long time in political parties does not allow genuinely efficient leaders to come up.
Over decades the Congress, BJP and the CPI-M have been facing this ideological crisis; Congress lost the self motivated Seva Dal after Independence; the BJP lost many of its committed cadres after testing power in 1977 under Morarji Desai’s government; and the CPI-M’s die-hard cadres turned hostile to the party when the Communist party hobnobbed with its arch rival Congress for power.
All have paid the price for ideological U turn and for promoting turncoats. The emergence of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal can be attributed to the CPI-M ideological U turn, which had made thousands of dedicated cadres dormant.
The decades long struggle of the CPI-M to remove the Congress ended in a U Turn when the party decided to support Congress in 2004 to form the government in the center. In 1996, Jyoti Basu, the CPI-M Supremo’s willingness to become the prime minister in the United Front government with Congress support pushed the party into an ideological vacuum.
The CPI-M politburo blocked his way. Jyoti Basu later described the party’s decision not to form the Centre-Left United Front government as a “historic blunder”. Jyoti Basu was wrong as he did not realize his ideological U turn would cause so much damage to the party.
In 2019, the RSS’ Bengali mouthpiece, “Swastika”, had warned the BJP of the perils of the turncoats. The RSS expressed concerns over mass induction of TMC leaders including those facing corruption charges into the BJP. In 2021, the BJP had fielded 46 turncoats in the West Bengal Assembly election, the majority of the turncoats were from the TMC who later returned to TMC. 
Had BJP groomed its own cadres and fielded them in the election, it would have significantly improved its tally in West Bengal; violence-torn West Bengal gave BJP a big opportunity to rule. The BJP’s loss in the West Bengal election consolidated TMC’s position which was looking vulnerable before the Assembly election.
It is most likely that political party which is run by a Supremo or controlled by a single voice always looks for turncoats to compensate the loss due to the exit of the dedicated cadres. The inability to groom leadership compel party leader to look for turncoats without knowing their action would erode the trust of the party’s traditional voters and volunteers.
When work is done on the basis of payment, ideologies dissolve. Price tag environment doesn't suit all; dedicated cadres become dormant, leave party
When the party cadres find the turncoats whom they have defeated in the election have occupied important positions in the party, they get disillusioned and lose interest in party activities. The turncoats start influencing the party’s core thinking and policies. They often purchase their position in the new party for their support. If they are allies to business houses they spell disaster for the country as they secretly work to mend policies in order to suit their corporate bosses.
As per the latest publication from Election Commission of India, the total number of parties registered was 2,698, with eight national parties, 52 state parties and 2,638 un-recognized parties. Such a huge number of political parties are burden on democracy; it helps turncoats to thrive. The major political parties should focus on developing leadership skill among their dedicated cadres so that the turncoats entry into the parties could be stopped.
Congress can live up to the stature of a national party if it revives the dedicated Seva Dal and bring in inclusive democracy within the party; an inclusive party democracy will always help the growth of potential leaders for a healthy democracy.
According to a report by the Centre for Media Studies, a huge amount of $ 8 billion was spent to conduct 2019 Lok Sabha election. This amount is likely to be far higher in the 2024 Lok Sabha election unless the major political parties work hard to develop leadership skill among the cadres and maintains transparent reporting on election expenditure.
Indian political class, intelligentsia and judiciary should converge on developing a strong law to end the turncoat menace and create right environment for the educated people to contest election.

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