Priyanka Chaturvedi, Shatrughan, Danish Ali: Partyhoppers who jumped ship ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019

Several high-profile politicians have switched loyalties to their parties just before the 17th Lok Sabha elections which began on April 11. Latest to do so was Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, who quit her party on Friday to join the Shiv Sena. Although she hasn’t confirmed it yet, Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut just hours after her announcement said she has joined the hardline Hindu party.

Priyanka was apparently unhappy over her party’s decision to reinstate some workers who she alleged had misbehaved with her in Matura recently. Besides being an articulate spokesperson, she has been one of the most social media savvy voices of the Congress. However, she’s not the only one to change loyalty to her party in the 2019 elections. Others include Congress leader Tom Vadakkan from Kerala, Biju Janata Dal leaders Baijayant Panda and Damodar Rout from Odisha, JD(S) leader Danish Ali, actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada in Uttar Pradesh and BJP leaders Shaturghan Sinha and Kirti Azad from Bihar.

Kerala Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan had joined the BJP on March 14 after he was upset with his party’s stand on the Pulwama terror attack. Baijayant Jay Panda, on the other hand, was upset on several issues with the Naveen Patnaik-led government in Odisha. He quit BJD to join the BJP on March 4. Jaya Prada, who was once a star candidate of the Samajwadi Party, joined the BJP on March 26, saying that she was drawn to the saffron camp due to the good work of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Senior JD(S) leader and party spokesman Danish Ali had joined the BSP this week. Ali had played a crucial role in finalizing a seat-sharing formula with Congress in Karnataka. He claimed he had the blessings of party chief H.D. Deve Gowda.

Former cricketer and BJP MP Kirti Azad had left his party of more than two decades to join the Congress on February 19, after claiming that he saw the real faces of the party leaders in the last few years. While former Odisha minister and BJD leader Damodar Rout joined the BJP last month after he was expelled from his party in September last year for alleged anti-party activities, actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha had recently dumped BJP, his party of nearly three decades, to join the grand-old-party last week. Sinha will contest from the prestigious Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat in Bihar against BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad. Four-time Trinamool Congress MLA Arjun Singh had switched sides to the BJP on March 14 after he was denied a party ticket from Barrackpore.

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