Former Uttar Pradesh ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini – who resigned this week from the Yogi Adityanath government and the ruling BJP just weeks before Assembly polls – today joined the Samajwadi Party in the presence of opposition leader Akhilesh Yadav.
Also joining the Samajwadi Party were MLAs Vinay Shakya and Bhagwati Sagar.
Uttar Pradesh MLA Chaudhary Amar Singh of the Apna Dal Thursday quit the BJP-led alliance just weeks ahead of polls – this is the eleventh resignation for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in three days. Akhilesh Yadav, who has emerged as the key challenger in UP, has yet again benefitted.
In the latest blow to the BJP ahead of Assembly elections, minister and OBC leader Dharam Singh Saini resigned on Thursday from the state cabinet. Mr Saini, a four-time legislator from Nakud in Saharanpur, is the third state minister to step down in past three days with the ruling party in what is being seen as a crucial swing ahead of a crucial election.
Seven other BJP MLAs and one from Apna Dal, which is in alliance with the BJP, have also exited the party in the last three days.
The Congress has fielded the mother of 2017 Unnao rape victim as its candidate for next month’s assembly election in Uttar Pradesh. Asha Singh, the Unnao victim’s mother, was among those who were named in the list released by the party today.
“Our list sends a new message that if you have been a victim of harassment and torture, the Congress will support you,” said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, as she released the list.
Swami Prasad Maurya, whose resignation from Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet has set off a flurry of exits, Wednesday said he “hasn’t quit the BJP or joined the Samajwadi Party” yet.
“I have only quit as a minister. I will quit the BJP soon. For now, I am not joining the Samajwadi Party,” Swami Prasad Maurya told NDTV, teasing a big reveal today.
“I have rejected the BJP…there is no question of going back,” he qualified in the same breath.
Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab, and Uttarakhand will vote over seven phases starting February 10, with counting of votes scheduled for March 10.
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