When a politician switches a party, it doesn’t mean he is welcomed by all the members of the new party he is joining. The switching reason could be anything from being unhappy, annoyed with the leadership, sidelined, jumping the sinking ship, better post or offers from opposition parties.

Mr Manav from the Aksharpur constituency switched from the ‘Hand’ party to the ‘Lotus’ party. The first thing the ‘Lotus’ party will do is tell Manav to reveal the ‘Hand’ party’s dirty secrets openly in public and media. The purpose here is to close the returning gates permanently for Manav. This means neither Manav will be able to go back to the ‘Hand’ party, nor the ‘Hand’ party will try to bring him back because of the enmity created by Manav’s talking to the media.

Let’s say the mid-term polls elections are due in a couple of months. Who do you think the Lotus party will give the ticket to fight the election on their behalf in the Aksharpur constituency? Obviously, to Manav.

But, in the near future, Manav will have to prove his popularity and the trust amongst the voters who have been voting for him as the ‘Hand’ party candidate. The question is will he be able to influence those same voters to vote for him again after he has switched the party and joined the ‘Lotus’ party. Will the voter look at Manav’s work and vote him again as an individual, regardless of what party he belongs to now and fighting the election for or will he be judged and voted on the basis of the party he has joined.

Most importantly, how much percentage of voters will actually vote or simply go for the NOTA (None of the Above)? Will the remaining ‘Hand’ party workers of the Aksharpur constituency undermine Manav’s activities after switching the party and create hurdles in the upcoming elections. The ‘Hand’ party workers will try everything to make sure that ‘Hand’ party votes should go only to the ‘Hand’ party candidate standing in the upcoming election. Will the voters of ‘Lotus’ who have always voted against the ‘Hand’ party, be voting for a person who has switched from the ‘Hand’ party and have joined ‘Lotus’ party. What about those votes?

But in all this, what about Mr Pawan from the Lotus party who had lost the last election against Manav in the same Aksharpur constituency. Will he allow Manav to win the election easily? Since now Manav has joined the ‘Lotus’ party, will Pawan’s volunteers work wholeheartedly for promoting Manav in the campaigns and rallies of the upcoming elections? Or would they undermine the plans and stop Manav from winning the elections.

It is the responsibility of the ‘Lotus’ party to make sure their supporting voters step out of their house to vote for those who are historically not theirs but have recently joined them (Manav). And this responsibility is usually given to the candidate who had lost in the last election. And here is where the things can be undermined by Pawan if the state head is not monitoring the ground situation properly.

But, some percentage of voters who had an incident, or a history or a bad experience with Manav would never vote for him, even if he/she has been voting for the ‘Lotus’ party for decades. It gets personal. Here comes counter-polarization, these voters would neither vote to ‘Hand’ nor to ‘Lotus’, instead vote to the third party who may be trying to take advantage of such situations for gaining the third position in that constituency.

Similarly what about the party workers of ‘Hand’ and ‘Lotus’ who would never see each other’s eyes until now, and have become each other’s enemy in last so many years and decades, now belong to the same party. The question is how many workers are willingly and happily ready to switch themselves following their leader (Manav) to the new party. What about those who don’t want to switch? Secondly, will it be comfortable for both party workers to forget the past and adjust to working in the same party side by side? What about their positions and responsibilities. Yes, they have ranks too and everybody is paid accordingly.

If Manav wins the election on the ‘Lotus’ ticket, then for the next 2 or 3 elections the ticket will not be issued to anybody else other than Manav, unless he makes mistakes in the future, leaving people disappointed and unsatisfied with his work or corruption. So what happens to Pawan now, who has been in the Lotus party for the last many years or decades. All the hard work that he did for the party simply becomes useless. Depending upon his history and the current scenario, a settlement is reached with either money or another post in the same place or somewhere else. Pawan may be nominated in the upper house or in a rare case he may be transferred to the centre.

Switching political parties especially during the election is a gamble. Manav has to prove himself or else he is useless for the new party and gets sidelined (thrown away). Years later, he is invited to come back and join the original party (‘Hand’ party), and if he does that, it becomes the ultimate disaster for him. Such leaders might win state elections once or twice, but they are never given any higher posts because of their untrustworthy and switching record, which means no ministerial post. Such people are rarely sent to the centre. They spend their life as a legislature, if they are aged, they are given constitutional posts such as a governor.

Usually, voters don’t look at the candidates, in fact, most of the times they don’t even know the names of the candidates. While voting, all they do is just search for the party symbol of the leader who they want to see becoming or continuing as the chief minister or prime minister of the country, and press that button, that’s it. That is why the party-switching somehow works. It’s all about timing and the current situation of the party.