- Top minister Swami Prasad Maurya quit BJP and joined Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party.
- MLAs Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati and Bhagwati Sagar also quit BJP
- According to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, 13 more MLAs will quit the saffron party
UP Assembly Election 2022: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh was hit by resignations of a minister and three MLAs on Tuesday less than a month before the state votes in the first of seven-phased Assembly election. Top minister Swami Prasad Maurya quit BJP and joined Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party. Shortly after Maurya's resignation went public, three more sitting MLA's - Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati and Bhagwati Sagar - announced that they are quitting the party too. The trio is also likely to hop on to the 'Samajwadi cycle' hoping to paddle to victory in the assembly election starting February 10.
Maurya had joined the BJP from Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 2016, a year before the last assembly election in 2017. The other three leaders, who quit today, had also joined the saffron party leaving the BSP. Maurya is considered to be an influential Other Backward Class (OBC) and his exit is likely to have an impact on BJP's poll plans, but how much, is the question that the party would be trying to ascertain at the moment.
Maurya, himself, appeared confident that his exit will cost BJP dearly. "What impact my exit will have on the BJP will be obvious after the 2022 assembly election," he told reporters in Lucknow.
In his resignation letter, Maurya accused the Yogi Adityanath government of "oppressing of Dalits, OBCs, farmers, unemployed and small businessmen".
Despite Maurya's stinging resignation letter, Yogi's deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya hoped of a rapprochement. The UP deputy CM, in a tweet said," I am unaware of the reasons behind respected Swami Prasad Maurya ji's resignation. I I appeal to him to sit and talk, hasty decisions often prove to be wrong." However, it seems unlikey that Swami Prasad Maurya will take back his decision.
More BJP MLAs set to leave party?
As the drama unfolded in Lucknow, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai told reporters that more BJP MLAs will quit in the coming days.
"13 MLAs are going to join Samajwadi Party," Pawar said, adding that the people of Uttar Pradesh are looking for change.
"We will surely see the change in the state. Communal polarisation is being done in Uttar Pradesh, ahead of Assembly elections. The people of UP will give a befitting reply to this," the 81-year-old leader said.
BJP facing what TMC had to in Bengal
With a number of sitting MLAs and leaders switching sides ahead of Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, it reminds one of similar developments that happened in West Bengal ahead of state polls there in April/May last year. Scores of Trinamool Congress' MLAs and workers had joined the BJP ahead of polls. TMC
supremo Mamata Banerjee even lost one of her most trusted lieutenats Suvendu Adhikari to BJP. Adhikari, infact, contested against Mamata from the high-profile Nandigram seat handing over a stunning defeat to the CM.
However, it was Mamata's TMC that registered a big win capturing 215 seats and restricted the BJP, that had projected 300 plus seats for itself, for just 77 seats.
In Uttar Pradesh too, the BJP is confident of repeating its 2017 show by winning over 300 seats in 2022. Notably, no chief minister in UP has had two consecutive terms since 1985. Will Yogi Adityanath be able to do the 'khela' much like Mamata Didi in Bengal?