Before UP elections, former IPS joins BJP, ex-minister joins SP
After his recent voluntary retirement, former IPS officer Asim Arun joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Lucknow on Sunday. Union Minister Anurag Thakur and Uttar Pradesh BJP President Swatantra Dev Singh were present during the ceremony. Meanwhile, Dara Singh Chauhan—a former minister in the Yogi Adityanath UP government—officially joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) on the same day.
- The announcement comes only weeks before the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections that are set to commence on February 10.
- The polls would be the first electoral test for the BJP since the controversial farm laws were repealed.
- UP also sends the most lawmakers to Parliament and is hence a key capture before the 2024 general elections.
Arun reflected on how his interactions with the BJP government were different from those he had with prior administrations. "Under previous governments, I used to get calls saying a certain criminal who was arrested is trying to improve," he told India Today. "We were directed to let the criminal off." Arun said he wanted to enter politics to better serve the people of India.
Retired IAS officer Ram Bahadur reportedly set to join the BJP. Bahadur had earlier contested from Mohanlalganj on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket in the 2017 assembly elections. SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav is also expected to join the BJP. Aparna Yadav is the wife of Pratik Yadav, the stepbrother of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
Chauhan—who resigned as the minister for forests and environment and also quit the BJP this week—joined the SP on Sunday. "In 2017, the BJP government gave a slogan of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas,'" he said. "The party took support from everyone but only a few people got the benefits of development." RK Verma—a member of the BJP-aligned Apna Dal—joined the SP.
Yadav welcomed Chauhan and Verma into the party. "(The 2022 election) is a fight with the double engine government in Delhi and Lucknow (a reference to the BJP in power at the center and the state)," he said. "They have only done 'politics of breaking,'" he said. "We will focus on 'politics of development." Earlier, he claimed no more ministers will be signed up.
The BJP has announced its first list of 107 poll candidates, in which 20 current MLAs were denied tickets and 21 new candidates were nominated. The list for the first and second rounds has been released. The BJP chose women for 10 seats, Scheduled Castes (SC) candidates for 19 seats, and Other Backward Classes (OBC) candidates for 44 seats—making about 60% of the total.
The elections in five states—Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, and Manipur—account for slightly more than a fifth of the country's population. There will be elections in 690 constituencies, with 18.34 crore voters casting ballots. On March 10, the results of all state elections will be declared. The BJP is in power in four out of five election-bound states.