It is a common spectacle in India to see politicians defect from a party, re-contest from another party and become MLAs again. The rebellion in the Shiv Sena has once again put the spotlight on the politics of defections. Data show that in the last decade, the BJP fielded more than 830 turncoats in the Assembly polls, the highest number by any party. A turncoat is an MLA candidate who participated in the previous election as a candidate of another recognised State/national party. More than 44% of the turncoats fielded by the BJP have won — a relatively high success rate.
Number of turncoats
The chart shows the number of turncoats fielded in the Assembly polls in the last decade and the % of those who won. For instance, the BJP fielded 833 turncoats in the Assembly polls in the last decade, of which 44% won the elections.
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The chart shows the number of Assembly candidates/winners who exited a party and joined another in the last decade and the % who won. For instance, 806 Congress candidates/winners switched parties in the last decade and 33% of them won after switching.
The BJP’s turncoats
The map shows the number of turncoats fielded by the BJP in the last decade in the Assembly polls. Most of them were fielded in Uttar Pradesh (130) folllowed by 81 in Karnataka.
BJP’s success rate
The map shows the % of turncoats who won the polls after being fielded by the BJP in the last decade in Assembly elections. Turncoats fielded by the BJP had a high success rate in select northeastern States and Maharashtra.
Source: “TCPD Individual Incumbency Dataset 1962-current”, Trivedi Centre for Political Data, Ashoka University