Ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, at least nine MLAs of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are set to jump ship to the Samajwadi Party (SP), sources have told The Quint.
The development comes as a jolt to the already weakened BSP, with more than half its MLAs being expelled in the past two years over alleged ‘anti-party activities.’
The party had 19 MLAs after the 2017 Assembly elections, out of which 11 MLAs and three party chiefs have been expelled.
The latest to be expelled, on 4 June, were two high-profile names – Lalji Verma, who was BSP’s legislative party leader and Ram Achal Rajbhar, a former UP BSP president.
While most of the nine MLAs set to join are said to be among the ones expelled, it is yet unclear if any of the seven MLAs still officially with the BSP have also jumped ship.
Mayawati’s BSP: Who’s In, Who’s Out
The party had won 19 seats in the 2017 Lok Sabha elections. The number was reduced to 18 after Ritesh Pandey contested and won the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and became an MP. The BSP, however, lost the subsequently bypoll in Pandey’s Jalalpur constituency.
Since 2019, including Rajbhar and Verma, 11 MLAs have been expelled from the party – Ramveer Upadhyay, Aslam Choudhary, Mohammad Mujtaba Siddiqui, Mohammad Aslam Raini, Hakim Lal Bind, Hargovind Bhargav, Sushma Patel, Bandana Singh and Anil Singh.
The seven MLAs still officially with the party are Shyam Sunder Sharma, Vijay Shankar Tiwari, Shah Alam, Sukhdev Rajbhar, Azad Ari Mardan, Mukhtar Ansari, and Umashankar Singh.
‘Bik Jaate Hain’: Mayawati Warns Cadre Against Leaders Quitting for Personal Gains
Just days after expelling Verma and Rajbhar, Mayawati, at a party-cadre meeting, warned against leaders who get “sold out for personal gains.”
“Such people don’t hesitate about harming the party movement and get sold out though in the end these people end up harming themselves the most which they realise later. We need to stay wary of such people,” she said, as quoted by Hindustan Times.
“We have to realign ourselves and work with missionary zeal to ensure a BSP government in the state that works for the welfare of all. The party people must trust cadre more than such leaders who take the name of Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram ji but who get sold out for individual gains,” she reportedly said.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)