NEW DELHI – In the first major jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh, senior minister and prominent leader from the backward community Swami Prasad Maurya has left the party to join the opposition ranks.
The resignation has brought cheer to the opposition camps, especially in Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Uttarakhand, where many BJP legislators have resigned to join the opposition.
Reacting to the developments, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said in Mumbai that he is working towards a joint opposition in Goa, and more MLAs will join the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. He said: “The people of Uttar Pradesh are looking for a change and they will ensure change in the state.”
Since these developments, the Opposition has got a major boost as the Congress is the principal opposition party in Uttarakhand and Goa. In the hill state, the party has already poached a few MLAs, and a few others are due to join the party, though the names have not been disclosed by the Congress.
The Samajwadi Party which was feeling the heat after the BJP took early leads in the campaigning has also got some boost in the form of Swami Prasad Maurya who is considered to have influence in the eastern and central Uttar Pradesh.
In Uttar Pradesh after Maurya, Roshan Lal Varma, another BJP MLA — Brijesh Prajapati from Tindwari in Banda — has said that he has submitted his resignation from the saffron party.
Varma, Prajapati and a host of other OBC MLAs met Swami Prasad Maurya to discuss the political situation.
The MLAs, including Bhagwati Sharan Sagar from Bilhaur, said that the Yogi Adityanath government is not safeguarding the interests of the farmers, OBCs and other weaker sections of the society.
“We will go wherever Swami Prasad Maurya goes. We came with him from BSP to BJP and our future journey will continue with him,” said the legislators.
Another minister, Dharam Singh Saini, is also believed to be ready to quit, but there has been no confirmation yet.
The resignation in Uttar Pradesh followed days after Goa Minister in the BJP-led government, Michael Lobo, resigned as Minister, and another MLA Pravin Zantye, also quit the party.
“The party I had joined on the word and assurance of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is not the same party today,” Zantye told reporters after resigning from the party.
Zantye said that he would be joining the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party soon.
Earlier on Monday, Lobo had said that he was quitting as Minister and from the BJP, accusing party leaders of sidelining the grassroots workers.
Yashpal Arya and his MLA son had also joined the Congress after leaving the BJP. -IANS