New Delhi: Rebel BJP ministers and MLAs led by former Uttar Pradesh labour minister Swami Prasad Maurya met Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday. Following the meeting, the leaders announced their plan to join the SP and claimed that nearly 35 MLAs are with them. “Watch out for tomorrow, at least 15 more MLAs will join us,” Maurya said.
The former BJP leaders were also joined by Apna Dal rebel MLA Chaudhary Amar Singh. “I’ve given my resignation, met Akhilesh Yadav today, will join him. This government is a liar. No development has been done. Soon, more people will join us,” he said.
Informing that a formal announcement of their joining SP will be made on Friday, Maurya said, “A formal meeting was held with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and I introduced my associates to him.”
Exuding confidence following his move, Maurya, a prominent OBC leader in the state, said, “We will make the BJP shrink to 45 seats like it was before 2017.”
The Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance on Thursday announced its first list of 29 candidates for upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. Of the 29 seats, the SP has fielded its candidates on 10 while the RLD on 19. Among the constituencies where the SP-RLD combine has announced candidates are Meerut, Baghpat, Kairana, Shamli, Loni, Sahibabad, Jewar, Aligarh, Bulandshahr, Agra Cantt, Agra.
Earlier today, a third BJP minister Dharam Singh Saini quit the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet to join the Samajwadi Party. Saini, a four-time MLA from Nakud in Saharanpur and a prominent backward caste leader in Uttar Pradesh, became the third minister to quit the saffron party in three days.
On January 12, BJP minister Dara Singh Chauhan had left the party in a major blow to the Yogi Adityanath government in UP. A day before, Maurya’s resignation was followed by those of three other BJP MLAs – Tindwari’s Brajesh Prajapati, Tilhar’s Roshan Lal Verma and Bilhaur’s Bhagwati Sagar.
While leaving BJP, all the leaders have stated similar reasons as they showed disapproval of the state government’s attitude towards farmers, Dalits, the unemployed and those belonging to other backward classes.
Elections for the 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases starting February 10, the Election Commission said. The polling in Uttar Pradesh will be held on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27 and March 3 and 7 in seven phases. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP won a landslide victory winning 312 Assembly seats. The party secured a 39.67 per cent vote share in the elections for 403-member Assembly. Samajwadi Party (SP) bagged 47 seats, BSP won 19 while Congress could manage to win only seven seats