UP elections: Major upset for BJP; 7 defectors join SP
Former Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Ministers Dharam Singh Saini and Swami Prasad Maurya joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) on Friday. Both had resigned from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this week. They joined the rival SP in the presence of party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow. Five MLAs—Bhagwati Sagar, Brijesh Prajapati, Mukesh Verma, Roshanlal Verma, and Vinay Shakya—also joined the SP.
Why does this story matter?
- The development comes a few weeks before the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections, which are scheduled to begin on February 10.
- Eleven legislators have resigned from the BJP in UP this week, while the Opposition expects around 18 ministers more resignations.
- While the BJP hoping for re-election under Yogi Adityanath's leadership, the primary opponents are SP and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
End of BJP being written: SP Maurya
"January 14, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, the end of BJP is being written," said Maurya. He claimed the BJP cheated the Dalits, and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) to gain power. "The BJP has misled the people of the country and the state and has thrown dust in their eyes and exploited the people," he said, confident of the SP's victory.
Not leaving BJP: Saini said day before quitting
On Wednesday, Saini criticized Maurya and refuted claims that he will resign from the BJP. "My name was wrongly given in Swami Prasad Maurya's list that is floating around," Saini had said. "I am and will be in the BJP. I am not leaving the party." Within 24 hours he resigned from the ruling party of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
Who are the others who quit BJP?
All the MLAs who resigned have complained that the Adityanath administration has ignored the concerns of the poor, OBCs, and other marginalized classes. The others who resigned include Awtar Singh Bhadana, Bala Avasthi, and Chaudhary Amar Singh. OBC leader and UP Minister of Forest and Environment Dara Singh Chauhan had also resigned on Wednesday.
Adityanath hits back at SP
While Yadav was roping in leaders from the BJP, state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was having lunch with a Dalit family in Gorakhpur. He later said that during the SP's leadership in Uttar Pradesh, "social exploitation" was more prominent than "social justice." The BJP government is striving for the development of all sections of the society without prejudice, he added.
Schedule of the UP Assembly elections 2022
The 2022 UP Legislative Assembly elections are to be held in seven phases for 403 polling constituencies. Voting will be held on February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3, and March 7. The election result is expected on March 10. More than 15 crore voters are expected to cast their ballots across 1,74,351 polling stations this year.