Know Your Turncoats, Part 17: BJP MLA, ex-minister trying to ‘save Jharkhand’, an ‘outsider’ in UP

A series looking at the defectors contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

WrittenBy:Nikita Singh& Sumedha Mittal
Turncoats Ram Bhagat, Sanjay Dina Patil, Biswajit Das, Jai Prakash and Shivshankar Patel.

From incumbent MLAs under a central agency’s lens to a Bengal party hopper and Bihar’s turncoats hot seat – of the 15 turncoats in phase five of the Lok Sabha polls, eight are in the NDA and six in the INDIA bloc. 

In the last two parts of this series, we looked at the turncoats in the NDA and the hot seats. Now, let’s look at the remaining five defectors fielded by the INDIA bloc.   

Jai Prakash Bhai Patel: Ex-cabinet minister, JMM leader’s son, BJP MLA

Jai Prakash Bhai Patel is the Congress candidate from Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh. The 41-year-old had his first brush with politics after the death of his father, JMM leader Teklal Mahto, in 2011. 

When the Mandu assembly seat fell vacant after his father’s death, Patel fought the bypolls and became an MLA on a JMM ticket. He stayed with the regional party for the next eight years, becoming the youngest cabinet minister of the state at the age of 30 in 2013.  His party leaders then reportedly said that his ministerial post was a “gift as dowry” from JMM leader Mathura Mahto, whose daughter Lalita is married to Patel. The young politician had then reportedly vowed not to settle for anything less than a ministry, “come what may”. 

Ahead of the 2019 assembly polls, Patel switched to the BJP. After nearly five years in the party, the incumbent Mandu MLA again jumped ship to the Congress in March this year. He said that he was “unable to find my father’s ideology in the NDA” and that he didn’t care about posts but wanted to “save Jharkhand”.  

His maiden Lok Sabha contest is against the BJP’s Manish Jaiswal. Oddly, the transport business owner and politician’s assets have decreased from Rs 3.66 crore in 2019 to Rs 2.89 crore in April this year. He has no pending criminal cases.   

Biswajit Das: Farmer, BJP MLA, seven criminal cases

Biswajit Das, 57, is the Trinamool Congress candidate from Bangaon in West Bengal. The three-time MLA began his political career in 2010 with the Trinamool Congress. 

In 2019, he defected to the BJP along with 12 councillors, thereby shifting control of the Bongaon municipality from the TMC to the BJP. The saffron party then said that TMC leaders were joining the BJP “because Mamata Banerjee has spread violence all across West Bengal”.

Two years later, Das contested and won from Bagda in North 24 Parganas on a BJP ticket. But in the next few months, he returned to the TMC, saying he “never felt very comfortable in the BJP. I wanted to return to the TMC long ago. The BJP has done nothing for Bengal”. The politician also said that he left the Mamata Banerjee-led party because of “misunderstanding”, but now he has “returned home”. 

After being fielded against union minister and Bongaon BJP MP Shantanu Thakur in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, Das resigned from the state assembly in April this year to avoid anti-defection law proceedings. Das has alleged that the BJP is “affected by internal feud” and has “no room for work”. He has also accused the saffron party of blackmailing the Matua community over citizenship under the CAA and demanding votes. 

A farmer by occupation, Das has studied till Class 10 and has assets worth over Rs 1.08 crore – up from Rs 49 lakh in 2021. He has seven pending criminal cases, involving breach of trust, cheating and criminal intimidation.   

Ram Bhagat Mishra: Brahmin face, in fray against Brij Bhushan’s son

Ram Bhagat Mishra is the Samajwadi Party’s candidate from Kaiserganj in Uttar Pradesh. 

The 71-year-old lawyer began his political career with the Congress, eventually crossing over to the SP, the BSP, and then the BJP. He returned to the Akhilesh Yadav-led party last year.  

Mishra, a Brahmin, is a resident of Bahraich and is popular among advocates of the region, having spent a lot of time in the Bahraich district court. But the advocate-politician’s popularity also extends to farmers and the marginalised. He last contested an election in 2004 on a BSP ticket and lost to SP candidate Rubab Sayeda.

This year, Mishra has been pitted against the BJP’s Karan Bhusan Singh, who is also an advocate, national-level shooter, and chief of the Uttar Pradesh wrestling federation. The political novice has been fielded by the saffron party in place of his father, six-time MLA and former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, an accused in a sexual assault case involving several women wrestlers.        

While Mishra is expected to record a tough fight against Singh, local SP workers are reportedly irked by his candidature and have complained about him being an “outsider”. They were apparently pacified by the SP top brass, reasoning that changing their candidate at the last minute would confuse voters.   

As per his affidavit, Bhagat Ram’s assets stand at over Rs 5 crore – a jump from Rs 31 lakh in 2004. He has one pending criminal case against him, with charges of attempt to murder, mischief by fire or explosives with intent to destroy house, assertions prejudicial to national-integration, and criminal intimidation.

Krishna Shivshankar Singh Patel: Politician couple, house wife

Krishna Shivshankar Singh Patel is the Samajwadi Party’s candidate from Banda in Uttar Pradesh. The 54-year-old was forced to jump in the fray at the last minute after her husband, Shivshankar Singh Patel, fell ill days before the nominations.    

Krishna and Shivshankar, a three-time MLA from Baberu and former minister of state, were earlier in the BJP. But ahead of the 2021 UP panchayat elections, when the saffron party did not give Krishna a ticket, she contested independently. In the same year, the BJP expelled Shivshankar for “anti-party” activities. Subsequently, the politician couple joined the SP. Once BJP loyalists, the duo has been emphasising that Ayodhya’s Ram temple is not an election issue but unemployment and price rise are. 

As per her affidavit, the first-time Lok Sabha contestant is a “housewife” and has studied till class 12. She has assets worth Rs 3.62 crore and no criminal cases. 

Sanjay Dina Patil: NCP to Shiv Sena, Bhandup strongman 

Sanjay Dina Patil is the Shiv Sena Uddhav faction’s candidate from Mumbai North-East in Maharashtra. The 55-year-old began his political career with NCP and commands considerable support in Bhandup, Mulund and the Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar belt.   

Patil was elected as an MLA from Bhandup in 2004 and an MP from Mumbai North-East in 2009. He lost consecutively in the 2014 and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In April 2019, the politician called Sharad Pawar a “mountain”, referring to his invincibility, and pointed to nepotism in the Shiv Sena. He also said that both the NCP and Raj Thackeray’s MNS were fighting against the “same evil”. But months later, ahead of the state polls, Patil jumped to the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena. 

The politician allegedly pits other communities against the Marathis in his speeches. In Mumbai North-East, notably, Marathis are the dominant population, while Muslims and Gujaratis also have considerable population. Last month, Patil’s supporters alleged that several “Gujarati dominated societies” had denied them entry for campaigning. 

As per his affidavit, Patil’s assets stood at Rs 3.99 crore in April last year – higher by 52 percent  from Rs 2.62 crore in 2019.

Also see
article imageKnow Your Turncoats, Part 16: Bengal’s party hopper, 2 in Shinde camp, Bihar hot seat
article imageKnow Your Turncoats, Part 15: NDA has 53% defectors in phase 5; 2 in Shinde camp after ED whip


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