Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Swami Prasad Maurya on Tuesday, 11 January, resigned from his position as a minister in Yogi Adityanath's Uttar Pradesh (UP) Cabinet. Maurya is now slated to join the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) on 14 January.
According to ANI, Maurya on Wednesday said that if the BJP had been cautious on time, it would not have had to face his resignation.
"I will be joining the Samajwadi Party on 14th January...I have not received calls from any small or big politician. If they were cautious on time and worked on public issues, then BJP would not have to face this."
Maurya's resignation comes ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Shortly after his resignation, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav took to Twitter to welcome the leader to the party.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Keshav Prasad Maurya, urged Swami Prasad Maurya to reconsider his decision, in a tweet.
The Resignation Letter
SP Maurya, who is an OBC (Other Backward Class) leader, in his resignation letter, said 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."
In an interview to NDTV, Maurya said on Wednesday, "I have only quit as a minister. I will quit the BJP soon. For now, I am not joining the Samajwadi Party."
Adding that he has rejected the BJP, Maurya said that there was no question of going back.
Declaring that other ministers and MLAs would leave the party along with him, Maurya asserted, "My move has caused a earthquake in the BJP."
A 'Wholehearted' Welcome
Taking to twitter, Akhilesh Yadav said that he wholeheartedly welcomed Maurya as well as all the other leaders, party workers, and supporters, who, along with him, were joining the SP.
"There will be a revolution of social justice. There will be a change in 2022," wrote Yadav in Hindi.
A Spate of BJP Exits
Maurya is likely to take several other BJP leaders along with him to the SP. The likely defectors are Mamtesh Shakya, Vinay Shakya, Niraj Maurya, Dharmendra Shakya, and Roshan Lal.
Meanwhile, Maurya's son Utkrisht Maurya Ashok told ANI on Wednesday, "Even today, there is no such issue that my father wants a ticket for me or my sister. My father and the party will decide if I have to contest the election or they want me as a party worker for the upcoming Assembly polls."
Further, NCP chief Sharad Pawar also commented on SP Maurya's switch to the SP and said that "13 MLAs are going to join the Samajwadi Party (SP)."
After Maurya, BJP MLA Brijesh Kumar Prajapati also resigned from the primary membership of the party.
"Swami Prasad Maurya is the voice of the backward classes. He is our leader and I am with him," he said in his letter.
And Mukesh Verma, BJP MLA from Shikohabad, resigned from primary membership of the party on Thursday, 13 January, saying:
"Swami Prasad Maurya is our leader. We will support whatever decision he takes. Many other leaders will join us in the coming days."
In yet another BJP exit, MLA Avtar Singh Bhadana joined Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on Wednesday, 12 January, in the presence of RLD president Jayant Singh.
He shared the news on Twitter.
'I Appeal to Him To Sit and Talk': UP Deputy CM
Deputy CM Maurya wrote on Twitter:
"I do not know for what reason has respected Swami Prasad Maurya ji resigned. I appeal to him to sit and talk, hasty decisions often prove to be wrong."
Meanwhile, BJP MLA Roshan Lal Verma commented on the speculation that he too would be resigning after Maurya.
"I have the hard copy of his (Swami Prasad Maurya) resignation; will submit it...will think over it (resignation), decision to be taken after this...You will get to know on (January) 14," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
UP BJP MLA Bhagwati Prasad Sagar said that they "are ready to resign in solidarity with Swami Prasad Maurya." "We will work for social upliftment and will bring 6,743 castes together and make 'Bhikhari Samaj' into 'Raja Samaj'," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Later, UP Minister Dharam Singh Saini denied that he was leaving the BJP.
"I have come to know that Swami Prasad Maurya has given a list of MLAs who are leaving BJP and joining Samajwadi Party and my name is also in that list. I am and will be in the BJP. I am not leaving the party," he said.
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