Former Uttar Pradesh ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini – who both resigned this week from the Yogi Adityanath government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — have joined the Samajwadi Party in the presence of opposition leader Akhilesh Yadav, today. Assembly elections in UP is scheduled less than 30 days from now. Other than Maurya and Saini, five other BJP MLAs – Roshanlal Verma, Brijesh Prajapti, Mukesh Verma, Vinay Shakya and Bhagwati Sagar – also joined the Samajwadi Party today. In addition, Chaudhary Amar Singh of the Apna Dal, which is allied with the ruling party, also joined Akhilesh Yadav.
“Today the end of BJP has been sounded. The BJP has misled and exploited the people of the country and state. Now UP has to be freed of exploitation,” Swami Prasad Maurya said. Maurya – an influential OBC leader was earlier with Mayawati’s BSP. He quit the UP government on Tuesday and joined the BSP today. “The BSP collapsed after I left (and) BJP’s popularity shot up in UP because of me. The end has begun for the BJP…” he said.
These additions to the BSP are being seen as advantages for Akhilesh Yadav, who has been former UP chief minister. Yadav is being seen as the BJP’s main rival in the coming February-March elections.