A stand-up comedian, a forgotten Congress leader from Punjab, a spiritual leader-turned politician from Uttarakhand, a one-night stand chief minister of UP, a dyed-in-fodder several-time MP from Bihar... All these Johnnies, with a Jane or two thrown in, are the flavour of the run-up to the 2014 general election.
Lalu Prasad Yadav must have felt betrayed when Ram Kripal Yadav, his shadow everybody thought was for forever and ever, stepped out into the morning sun one fine day and went on a date with the BJP. Since then, Kripal has hugged the BJP, and the honeymoon continues.
One would have thought Atal Bihari Vajpayee's niece Karuna Shukla wouldn't be one to desert her uncle's party to join the opposition. After all, the uncle is the one and only prime minister the BJP can boast about. But Shukla upped and did just that — dumped the BJP and joined, of all the parties, the Congress.
She is now the Congress candidate from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, contesting against Lakhanlal Sau of the BJP. Shukla, who spent 32 years with the BJP, has now realised the virtues of secularism. Saying, the era of Vajpayee and LK Advani has come to an end in the BJP, she maintains that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections will mark the end of "communal forces". Shukla, who was campaigning in Chhattisgarh, though could not be contacted. The person behind this coup, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, said Shukla joining the Congress is a big achievement for the party. "She has come from a background and inherits the lineage of a person, who founded the BJP. When she severed ties from the party, it means how deep the rot is in that party," he said.
The Congress, of course, cannot jump in joy. For, election-eve defections and desertions have hit the Congress harder than they have hit any other party. A week or two earlier, Congressman for decades Jagdambika Pal crossed over to the BJP, saying that Modi would do for him, and for India.
On Friday, the Congress received two more jolts. One from party MP from Uttarakhand, Satpal Maharaj, who was welcomed into the BJP by Rajnath Singh. The 'Maharaj' was miffed for being overlooked for the chief minister's chair by the Congress high command. Rajnath said, "Satpalji will strengthen BJP." In return, the Maharaj said: "I want India to outgrow China. This can happen only when a leader like Modi becomes the prime minister."
The second boot in the Congress' butt was that of Buta Singh. Buta was a Gandhi family sycophant, and had been in the Congress for decades. But on Friday, he ran away to join the Samajwadi Party. The SP will field Buta from Jalore in Rajasthan.
As if this isn't amusing enough, consider the case of stand-up comedian, Raju Srivastava. He was Akhilesh Yadav's cycle-buddy and it was said that the two of them made a bicycle (incidentally, the Samajwadi Party's symbol). The SP named Raju its candidate from Kanpur. The Kanpuris didn't want a joke played on them. So, Raju jumped the bicycle and went of to the BJP.