'No More Room,' Says Akhilesh Yadav After Wave of BJP Defections

The Samajwadi Party chief was speaking a day after two former BJP ministers in the Yogi Cabinet joined his party.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav</p></div>

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav took a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday, 15 January, after eight MLAs from the ruling party and its allies in Uttar Pradesh joined his party recently, ahead of the state Assembly elections.

Yadav told reporters in Lucknow that his party had no more room for BJP MLAs or ministers, according to NDTV.

Two former ministers in Yogi Adityanath's Cabinet, Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini, along with five MLAs from the BJP and one from the Apna Dal, joined the Samajwadi Party over the last few days. All of them are prominent OBC leaders.

Akhilesh Yadav has taken several initiatives to get leaders from other parties on board SP or to forge alliances with regional and local parties. But now, he says that no further additions will be possible.

NDTV quoted him as saying, "Now we will not take any more leaders into the Samajwadi Party...We sacrificed a lot to bring people together (but) now there is no scope to take anyone else."


News agency PTI reported that the third UP minister to recently quit the BJP, Dara Singh Chauhan, might also join the SP.

Although the SP supremo managed to make alliances with Omprakash Rajbhar's Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party and Jayant Chaudhary's Rashtriya Lok Dal, he failed to seal the deal with Chandrashekhar Azad's Azad Samaj Party (ASP).

On Saturday, Azad, who recently founded the ASP after heading the Bhim Army, said there would be no alliance with the SP, even though his party would have supported Yadav's front.

"After discussions for a month and 10 days, I realised, in the end, that Akhilesh Yadav doesn't need Dalits. In this alliance, he doesn't have space for Dalit leadership. He just wants Dalits to vote for them. I follow the principles of Kashiram who made Netaji the leader. There was apprehension among all of us that what if Dalits have to go through exploitation once their party comes to power. In the last two days, the Bahujan society has been insulted," Azad said, according to The Indian Express.

A key area of disagreement appears to have been on reservations in promotions for Dalits and backward classes. Azad also said that Akhilesh Yadav had not visited the house of any Dalit victim of a crime in the last five years.

The ASP chief reportedly said that his party would stand on its own if the Opposition parties failed to put on a united front.

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