Uttar Pradesh MLA Chaudhary Amar Singh of the Apna Dal today 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.
“This government is a liar… no development has been done. I met Akhilesh Yadav today, will join him. Soon more people will join us,” Mr Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI – the statement was both a warning and an attack on the ruling BJP that wants to retain the state for a second consecutive term in the crucial seven-phased February-March elections.
Ten BJP MLAs – including three ministers – have quit the BJP since Tuesday. It started with the exit of top minister SP Maurya, followed by three MLAs close to him on the same day – Bhagwati Sagar, Raushan Lal Verma, and Brijesh Prajapati.
Yesterday, another state minister Dara Singh Chauhan and MLA Awtar Singh Bhadana quit. Mr Bhadana is headed to the RLD, an ally of Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.
Today, UP Minister Dharam Singh Saini, and three other BJP MLAs – Vinay Shakya, Mukesh Verma and Bala Avasthi – also left the party.
All three UP ministers who have quit are key OBC (Other Backward Class) leaders, claiming that the interests of the community are being neglected.
Mr Saini today told NDTV that a mass exodus had been in the works for nearly 1.5 years.
“It was decided 1.5 years ago that we all will resign. When almost 140 MLAs had launched a dharna against the government because of how the downtrodden were being treated. But their voice was suppressed. That was when everyone decided, we will give an answer to this. We were waiting for the right moment. And that is why one minister is resigning every day. This will go on till the 20th,” he said.
Swami Prasad Maurya, who has also joined forces with Akhilesh Yadav, has claimed the party he sides with always wins – first Mayawati’s party, then the BJP, and now Samajwadi Party (may follow the trend).
But there was a pushback from the BJP as expected. “I don’t know why Swami Prasad Maurya quit but I appeal to him, don’t quit but let us talk. Decisions taken in haste can backfire,” Deputy Chief Minister
Keshav Prasad Maurya said in a tweet that did not impress the defectors.
Last year, another influential OBC face and BJP ally, Om Prakash Rajbhar, had crossed over to the Samajwadi Party.