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Sharad Pawar:

A protégé of Yashwantrao Chavan, Sharad Pawar was nominated as a candidate from the Baramati constituency in 1967 on a Congress ticket. He won the elections and in 1969, joined the Congress (R) faction, led by Indira Gandhi, of which Chavan was a part. Pawar left the Congress R in 1978 to form a coalition with the Janata Party and Peasants Working Party, in the process becoming the youngest Chief Minister at the age of 38. The Government was dismissed in 1980 when Gandhi returned to power. Pawar rejoined Congress during Rajiv Gandhi’s time in 1987, in a bid to ‘save the Congress Culture in Maharashtra’. Pawar continued with the party till 1999, when he, along with politicians P.A Sangma and Tariq Anwar demanded that an Indian born become the Prime Ministerial candidate and not the Italian born Sonia Gandhi. Pawar subsequently broke away from Congress and formed the Nationalist Congress Party, which continues to be an ally of the Congress Party. Image credit: By Ministery of Agriculture and Food Processing, India - http://pibphoto.nic.in/photo//2012/Jul/l2012073141564.jpg, GODL-India, Link

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

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: