In a setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, MLA Mukesh Verma becomes the latest member to resign from the ruling party. Increasing worries for the saffron party ahead of the Assembly elections starting on February 10.
Around eight MLAs and leaders have resigned since Tuesday. As electoral zeal is brimming in Uttar Pradesh, new equations of politics are evolving in the high stakes state. Prominent leaders have been resigning from the BJP over the past three days. Sources say that in the pre-election surveys conducted by the ruling party, these leaders were found to be losing in their home constituencies. Therefore, owing to the internal party chatter, they made their timely exit.
Mukesh Verma an MLA from the Shikohabad constituency in Firozabad became the second backward class leader to resign from the party on Thursday after accusing the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister of neglecting the Dalits, other backwards classes, farmers, minority communities. He also accused him of not heeding the needs of the unemployed people in the state.
On Twitter, Verma wrote, “During the tenure of five years by the BJP government, no attention was given to the leaders and public representatives of the Dalit, backwards and minority communities and the Dalits, backward farmers and unemployed were neglected. For this reason, I resign from the primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party.”
In his letter of resignation, he further wrote, “The BJP has done 'vikas' (development) only for itself. The party has built more offices in five years than had been constructed in the last 70 years. Every district has two BJP offices now. But the poor were neglected.”
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Besides Verma, there are six more leaders who left the party ahead of the polls. A look at them:
1. Swami Prasad Maurya
On Tuesday, prominent OBC leader and five-term MLA Swami Prasad Maurya resigned from his post of Minister for Labour and Employment from the Yogi government. In a jolt to the ruling party, Maurya is assumed to be joining the Samajwadi Party (SP), as he was soon spotted clicking pictures with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. Maurya, an MLA from the Padrauna constituency in the eastern district of Kushinagar accused the Yogi government of neglecting the “Dalits, backwards, farmers, unemployed and small traders”.
“I resign from the Yogi cabinet of Uttar Pradesh due to the grossly neglectful attitude of Dalits, Backward, Farmers, Unemployed youth and small, small and medium businessmen,” he wrote on Twitter.
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2. Avtar Singh Bhadana
Avtar Singh Bhadana, an MLA from Meerapur constituency in Muzaffarnagar switched to the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on Tuesday. His resignation was imminent as the prominent Gurjar leader had been advocating support for the farmers’ protest in the past. He was also active in organising Gurjar panchayats in the region after the Raja Mihir Bhoj statue controversy in Dadri town of Gautam Buddha Nagar, according to local media reports. RLD president Jayant Singh welcomed the four-time MP into the party through a tweet.
3. Brijesh Prajapati
Hours after the resignation of Maurya, MLA from Tindwari assembly constituency in Banda, Prajapati resigned from the party on Tuesday. In his resignation letter to BJP President JP Nadda, Prajapati had cited that the reason for his resignation is the gross ignorance of the government towards the members of the backward caste, Dalits, Muslims and small traders. Belonging to the Potter sub-caste, he said that he is in support of Maruya, “the voice of the oppressed”.
4. Roshan Lal Varma
On Wednesday, Roshan Lal Verma, an MLA from the Tilhar assembly in the district resigned from the party along with his supporters. Speaking to reporters, he said that he had been feeling suffocated for the past five years as his work was being obstructed. He further emphasised that hurdles were being created in all the works he was doing for the welfare of the poor and the backwards. He alleged that there is a dictatorship that is currently ruling the BJP and the state government.
5. Vinay Shakya
Bidhuna MLA Vinay Shakya quite the party on Thursday while extending his allegiance for Swami Prasad Maurya. In his resignation letter, he stated that Swami Prasad Maurya is the voice of the downtrodden and he was their leader. “I am with him,” he added.
6. Dharam Singh Saini
On Thursday, Uttar Pradesh minister and backward caste leader Dharam Singh Saini resigned from the Yogi government with less than a month left for the Assembly polls. Saini said he was resigning due to “gross neglect” of Dalits, backward castes, farmers, unemployed youth and small traders. A four-time MLA from Nakud in Sharanpur district, he was the minister of state (independent charge), Ayush, food security and drug administration.
7. Bhagwati Sagar
Bhagwati Sagar, an MLA from Bilhaur quit the BJP on Tuesday stating that his expectations from the ruling were not met. According to reports, Sagar said that when he had joined the party in 2017, he had a lot of expectations. Talking to local media, Sagar said that he had immense hope from the party, However, failing that, he had decided to resign.
All the outgoing leaders have warned that more members will be resigning from the party soon as the polls draw nearer. The BJP-ruled state will hold its election in seven phases from February 10 to March 7. It will elect 403 MLAs and the counting of votes will take place on March 10.