Aaya Ram Gaya Ram: 10 defections that have changed the course of politics

Gayatri Vinayak

Fearing a rerun of what has happened in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has shifted 20 MLAs out of Gujarat to Jaipur, to avoid defection or cross-voting, ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls to be held on March 26th. Former Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia’s jump to BJP has come as a major blow to the party, which is already reeling under the lack of a competent authority. With Scindia’s defection, the Kamal Nath government is likely to collapse, paving the way for three-time Chief Minister from BJP, Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s return. The Governor has demanded a floor test for the Kamal Nath-led government after 22 MLAs tendered their resignations. Scindia, who was with the Congress for 18 years, becomes the fifth member of his family to join BJP.

Defection is nothing new in Indian politics. Gaya Lal’s famous decamping from Congress to the Janata Party (JP), back to the Congress and then to the JP again, all within a fortnight in 1967, led to the creation of the expression Aaya Ram Gaya Ram. Over the years, several parties continued horse-trading in a bid to capture power, which ultimately led to the passing of the anti-defection law by the Parliament in 1985. Contained in the 10th schedule of the Constitution, the law was passed to curb political defections by legislators and to set grounds on which a member of the legislature can be disqualified.

The law has not curbed defection, and parties have indulged in horsetrading to come to power. We take a look at 10 instances where politicians have defected and changed the political scenario in their respective states: