The Congress has lost the highest number of its electoral candidates as well as MPs and MLAs to other parties in the past seven years with the BJP emerging the biggest gainer since it came to power at the Centre in 2014, according to a report released on Thursday.
A total of 222 electoral candidates left the Congress to join other parties during polls held between 2014 and 2021 while 177 MPs and MLAs quit the party during this period, shows an analysis of the candidates' poll affidavits by the National Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The BJP also lost as many as 111 candidates and 33 MPs and MLAs during the elections since 2014. Yet, the saffron party remained the biggest gainer as a total of 253 candidates and 173 MPs and MLAs came to its fold quitting their respective parties, the report shows.
The Congress, which saw 399 of its leaders quitting the party to join others in the past seven years, got 115 candidates and 61 MPs and MLAs coming to its fold from other parties.
The National Election Watch-ADR report is based on the analysis of the poll affidavits of 1133 candidates and 500 MPs and MLAs, who changed parties and recontested elections held during the Lok Sabha and assembly polls since 2014.
After the Congress, it was Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which saw a considerable number of its candidates and lawmakers joining other parties during the elections.
According to the report, as many as 153 candidates of the BSP and 20 of its lawmakers left the party to join another party during elections since 2014. The BSP, however, saw 65 candidates and 12 lawmakers joining its fold from other parties.
The report shows that Samajwadi Party (SP) lost 60 of its candidates and 18 lawmakers to other parties during the elections since 2014. It, however, saw just 29 candidates and 13 lawmakers coming to its fold from other parties.
As many as 31 candidates and 26 lawmakers of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) left the party to join another party in the past seven years. A total of 23 candidates and 31 lawmakers, however, joined the TMC leaving their paries since 2014.
The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) lost 59 of its candidates and 12 of its MPs/MLAs as they switched sides during the elections. The party, however, saw a total of 23 candidates and 12 lawmakers coming to its fold from other parties in the past seven years.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) lost 20 its electoral candidates and 11 lawmakers to other parties during elections in the past seven years, and saw 15 candidates and six lawmakers joining it from the other parties.
The report shows that the NCP lost as many as 52 of its electoral candidates and 25 lawmakers in the past seven years even as the party saw 41 candidates and eight lawmakers joining it from other parties during this period.
While the CPI's 13 electoral candidates and two lawmakers switched sides during elections, just five candidates joined it leaving their respective parties since 2014.
The CPI-M lost 13 of its electoral candidates and six lawmakers to other parties but got just one electoral candidate in its fold from another party.
K Chandrashekhar Rao's TRS, which lost four of its electoral candidates and four lawmakers to other parties during elections in the past seven years, got as many as 12 electoral candidates and 30 lawmakers in its fold from the other parties.
The TDP lost 32 of its candidates and 26 lawmakers to the other parties during the elections. A total of 11 candidates and 16 lawmakers joined the TDP deserting their parties.
While a total of five electoral candidates and eight lawmakers quit the AIADMK to join other parties, six electoral candidates and two lawmakers joined it leaving their respective parties.
In the past seven years, the DMK has seen five electoral candidates and three lawmakers joining it from other parties, while it lost four of its candidates and two lawmakers to other parties as they switched sides.
Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) lost three of its electoral candidates and six lawmakers switching sides in the past seven years. It, however, also saw 16 electoral candidates and three lawmakers coming to its fold from other parties.
The "most plausible" reasons behind such defections and switching of parties include absence of value-based politics, lust for money and power, strong nexus between money and muscle, reward for office, and dearth of efficient, honest and credible leaders, according to the National Election Watch-ADR report.
"Until and unless these trends are not reined in, our current electoral and political situation is bound to deteriorate further," the report has suggested, making a host of recommendations to arrest the trend which includes "a comprehensive" law to regulate political parties’ affairs.