Uttar Pradesh (UP) Cabinet minister Dara Singh Chauhan on Wednesday, 12 January, resigned from his post, ahead of the upcoming state Assembly elections.
Chauhan is the second minister to exit the state government after senior minister Swami Prasad Maurya quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and left his post on Tuesday. He is slated to join the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) on Friday.
While Maurya had cited the BJP government's negligence of certain sections of the society as the reason behind his departure, Chauhan has reiterated the same sentiment in his resignation letter.
"I have worked with complete dedication as the forest and wildlife minister in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's Cabinet. However, the government's attitude towards the backward and deprived sections, Dalits, farmers, and unemployed youth, and the messing with the quota for backward sections and Dalits, has hurt me and therefore I render my resignation," Chauhan wrote.
"BJP formed a government with the support of Dalits, backward communities... but didn't serve them well, which is why I resigned. The next step would be to hold discussions with my society people and then take a call for future course of action," Chauhan was quoted as saying by news agency ANI after his resignation.
SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav later took to social media and posted a picture with Chauhan.
SP Maurya, 4 MLAs Resign From BJP
The resignation of Swami Prasad Maurya, a prominent OBC (Other Backward Class) face of the BJP in UP, was followed by the resignations of four more BJP legislators – Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati, Vinay Shakya, and Bhagwati Sagar.
Maurya said in his resignation letter that he had resigned due to the "gross negligence meted out to Dalits, backward classes, farmers, unemployed youth, and small and middle-class businessmen in the state."
He said, "I will consult with my supporters and decide on joining another party. Dozens of MLAs will resign in the coming days."
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday tweeted, "Swami Prasad Maurya is a popular leader who fights for social justice and equality. We welcome him and the leaders and workers coming with him into the Samajwadi Party."
Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, which will take place in seven phases beginning 10 February, will see parties contesting for 403 Assembly constituencies. The BJP, which presently holds a majority in the state, had won the 2017 polls with an overwhelming mandate of 312 seats.