India: BJP faces spate of defections ahead of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh

  • The Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party is pulling out all stops to win the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections for the second consecutive term but a slew of defections from the party could be a setback with less than a month left for the first phase of polling.
  • 3 ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government, Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan and now Dharam Singh Saini have resigned. All 3 are OBC leaders and had joined BJP before the 2017 state elections.
  • The BJP’s poll math could suffer as the non-Yadav OBC vote could slip away from its grasp. In total, nine MLAs have quit the party.
  • Those who have resigned include Roshan Lal Verma, Brijendra Prajapati, Bhagwati Sharan Sagar, Avatar Singh Bhadana, Vinay Shakya and Mukesh Verma. Mukesh Verma, an MLA from Shikohabad constituency in Firozabad, alleged that the Yogi Adityanath government has failed to address the problems of weaker sections, youths, farmers, Dalits and OBCs.
  • He said that he will fight under the leadership of Swami Prasad Maurya. Another prominent name, Avatar Singh Bhadana, holds sway in Western Uttar Pradesh where the BJP appears to be on the backfoot due to the farmers agitation.
  • He joined the RLD, which is contesting the elections in alliance with the SP. Chauhan claimed that the poor, Dalits, unemployed and backward community did not get justice in the BJP government.

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