BJP MLA Mukesh Verma quits; 7th resignation before UP elections
Weeks before the Uttar Pradesh elections, Shikohabad MLA Mukesh Verma announced his resignation from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday morning. Verma—an OBC (Other Backward Classes) leader—announced his resignation on Twitter and showed up at the residence of former state minister Swami Prasad Maurya, who also quit this week. Verma criticized the ruling BJP in UP for not addressing OBC issues.
Why does this story matter?
- Verma has become the seventh MLA to quit the BJP in UP in less than three days.
- The announcement comes shortly before the crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, which are set to begin on February 10.
- While the BJP is aiming to recapture the state under Yogi Adityanath's leadership, Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are the main contenders.
'UP government oppressed Dalits, backward classes'
In the past five years, the BJP government did not cater to Dalits, backward castes, and minorities, and disrespected their representatives, Verma wrote in his resignation letter. He alleged that the state government oppressed Dalits, farmers who belonged to "lower castes," unemployed youths. "Because of these policies, I am quitting the party," he stated. He also hailed Maurya as the "voice of the oppressed."
Other leaders to join us soon: Verma
"We will support whatever decision (Maurya) takes. Many other leaders will join us in the coming days," Verma told reporters after reaching Maurya's Lucknow residence. Verma said the efforts of social reformist BR Ambedkar's efforts are being undone. Reportedly, Maurya and his supporters are likely to join the rival SP. Maurya is expected to make an announcement on Friday.
Who else has left the BJP?
Since Maurya's resignation on Tuesday, MLAs Brajesh Prajapati, Roshan Lal Varma, Bhagwati Sagar, and Vinay Shakya have also quit the BJP. The minister for environment and forests in UP, Dara Singh Chauhan, has also resigned.
Opposition leaders expect more BJP defections
Up to 18 UP ministers could resign by January 20, said Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar on Wednesday. "One-two wickets of the BJP cabinet will fall every day," he said. Rajbhar's party formerly supported the BJP, but it has pledged support to the SP this time. His party broke its coalition with the BJP in 2019.