January 20, 2022

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UP Assembly polls: Now, UP minister Dharam Singh Saini resigns from BJP; a look at the string of exits from party

Saini, a backward class leader, is the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ayush, Food Security and Drug Administration

The BJP is witnessing an exodus ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

On Thursday, Dharam Singh Saini, another minister from Uttar Pradesh, resigned from the party.

In his resignation letter addressed to Governor Anandiben Patel, Saini said he was quitting over the continued neglect of the aspirations of Dalits, backwards, farmers, educated unemployed, and small and mid-level traders who together gave the BJP a sweeping majority in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

He claimed the representatives of Dalits and backwards were also being neglected. Both Maurya and Chauhan had also levelled similar allegations in their resignation letters. There is no word yet from the Raj Bhavan or the BJP if the resignations have been accepted.

Saini then met Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav who took to Twitter to post: “I welcome him to the Samajwadi Party”.

As per India Today, earlier in the day, Dharam Singh Saini returned the security cover and residence allotted to him by the state government, which set off speculation that he was going to quit the BJP. This is the eight such exit from the BJP in the past three days. Earlier on Thursday, another BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh, Mukesh Verma, resigned from the party.

Let’s briefly examine who these two leaders are and the recent exits from the saffron party:

Who is Dharam Singh Saini?

Saini, a backward class leader, is the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ayush, Food Security and Drug Administration. He is a four-time legislator from Nakud in Saharanpur and joined the BJP in 2016. He was earlier with the Samajwadi Party.

Saini is said to be a close aide of Swami Prasad Maurya, who resigned on Monday and seemingly triggered the exodus from the BJP.

Interesingly, Saini, on Tuesday had said he would not quit the saffron party.

Who is Mukesh Verma?

Mukesh Verma represents the Shikohabad constituency in Firozabad. He is also an OBC (Other Backward Class) leader like Swami Prasad Maurya, who triggered the exits from the party on Monday.

In his resignation letter, which he has posted on Twitter, he writes that “in the past five years of the BJP government in UP no attention was given to the leaders and public representatives of the Dalit, backward 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.”

Speaking to ANI after announcing his resignation, he said, “Swami Prasad Maurya is our leader. We will support whatever decision he takes. Many other leaders will join us in the coming days.”

Verma, who is also expected to join the SP, said he would continue the “fight for justice” under Maurya.

Following in others’ footsteps

The BJP received an initial jolt on Monday when OBC leader Swami Prasad Maurya resigned from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet.

In his resignation letter he said that “negligent attitude towards Dalits, backward, farmers, unemployed youth, small and medium businessmen” as reasons behind his decision.

Rumours were rife that he was expected to join the Samajwadi Party after a ‘welcome’ post by Akhilesh Yadav on Twitter. However, he clarified that he had not joined the SP (yet). “I have only resigned as minister. Will announce my decision on 14 January.”

On the same day, Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Roshan Lal Verma decided to quit BJP as well.

Two other BJP MLAs of Uttar Pradesh, Bhagwati Prasad Sagar and Brajesh Prajapati, also submitted their resignations.

Roshan Lal Verma alleged that they were being ignored. He said, “Suresh Khanna was doing things at will. We were being ignored all the time.”

Verma said that he had spoken to the chief minister and other senior leaders but nothing was done.

Vinay Shakya, another BJP MLA, also resigned from the party on Monday. However, his daughter, Riya, alleged that her father had gone missing after her uncle and grandmother took him to Lucknow from Auraiya. The police later denied the allegations.

On Tuesday, Dara Singh Chauhan, another minister of the Yogi Adityanath government, quit the BJP.

Another prominent OBC face in Uttar Pradesh, he too is likely to join the Samajwadi Party after Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a picture with Chauhan, much like he did with Maurya.

Chauhan said in an interview to CNN News 18, “People of Dalit community extended their support to BJP to form a government but they were neglected, hurt by which, I tendered my resignation.”

According to a report by ANI, in his letter to the governor, Chauhan said in Hindi, “Due to the neglect of the state government towards the backward section of the society, Dalits, farmers and unemployed youth of the state and the neglect of reservation of the Dalits and backward class in the society, I have been hurt and I resign from the cabinet.”

Elections for the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly will be held in seven phases. The polling will be held on 10, 14, 20, 23, 27 February, and, 3 and 7 March in seven phases.

The polling in Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Goa will be held on 14 February and in Manipur in two phases on 27 February and 6 March. The counting of votes will take place on 10 March.

With inputs from agencies

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