Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Assembly elections, the exodus of leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) doesn’t seem to be stopping.
"I have resigned because for five years Dalits, backward classes were suppressed, their voices were suppressed... We will do whatever Swami Prasad Maurya will say. One minister and 3-4 MLAs will resign every day till Jan 20," he said.
Meanwhile, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi, "With the arrival of Dr Dharam Singh Saini Ji, another warrior of 'Social Justice' has joined our 'positive and progressive politics' and added more enthusiasm and strength."
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA's Mukesh Verma and Vinay Shakya also quit the party on Thursday.
So far, Cabinet Minister Swami Prasad Maurya along with several MLAs, and Forest Minister Dara Singh Chouhan, have resigned.
Saini was earlier quoted as saying, “I have come to know that Maurya has given a list of MLAs who are leaving BJP and joining the Samajwadi Party and my name is also in that list. I am and will be in the BJP. I am not leaving the party,” news agency ANI had reported.
In his resignation letter, Saini wrote that he was quitting due to the treatment meted out to the backward and minority communities, farmers, educated unemployed youth, and small business persons.
'People Belonging to Backward Communities Not Given Any Importance in BJP': Verma
Meanwhile, Mukesh Verma wrote in his letter that the leaders belonging to the Dalit, backward, and minority communities were not given any importance in the BJP government.
He added that farmers, unemployed, and small business persons had been neglected by the government.
Verma, who has also resigned from the primary membership of the BJP, was reported as saying, "Swami Prasad Maurya is our leader. We will support whatever decision he takes. Many other leaders will join us in the coming days."
Meanwhile, Shakya, in his resignation letter to the party, said:
"Swami Prasad Maurya is the voice of the downtrodden and he is our leader. I am with him."
Earlier, five-time BJP MLA from Lakhimpur Kheri, Bala Prasad Awasthi reached the SP office along with SP MLA Manoj Pandey to join the party.
List of the leaders who have quit the BJP:
Radha Krishna Sharma, MLA
Rakesh Rathore, MLA
Madhuri Verma, MLA
Jai Choubey, BJP MLA
Bhagwati Sagar, MLA
Brijesh Prajapati, MLA
Roshan Lal Verma, MLA
Avtar Singh Bhadana, MLA
Mukesh Verma, MLA
Swami Prasad Maurya, Cabinet Minister
Dara Singh Chauhan, Cabinet Minister
Adding to the list of departures, Apna Dal MLA Chaudhary Amar Singh on Thursday quit the BJP-led alliance, the eleventh resignation from the coalition in three days.
"This government is a liar... no development has been done. I met Akhilesh Yadav today, will join him. Soon more people will join us," Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI
SP Maurya, Associates Hold Meeting With Akhilesh Yadav
Later on Thursday evening, Swami Prasad Maurya and a few of his associates held a meeting with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
"A formal meeting was held with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and I introduced my associates to him. The official announcement will be made tomorrow. We will make BJP shrink to 45 seats like it was before 2017," Maurya said, as per ANI.
What Happened Earlier?
The resignation of Swami Prasad Maurya, a prominent OBC (Other Backward Class) face of the BJP in UP, sent shockwaves through the party's state unit on Tuesday, 11 January.
A day later, an arrest warrant was issued against Maurya in relation to an alleged hate speech that the leader made in 2014.
In his resignation letter to the governor, the BJP leader said that he was resigning from the Cabinet due to the "gross negligence meted out to Dalits, backward classes, farmers, unemployed youth, and small and middle-class businessmen in the state."
Maurya's departure was followed by the resignation of four more BJP legislators – Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati, Vinay Shakya, and Bhagwati Sagar.
Maurya is set to join the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP on 14 January.