In a major setback for the BJP weeks ahead of the state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, a key minister along with three MLAs has quit the party. Swami Prasad Maurya, a top UP minister, and influential backward caste leader, has joined the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party.
- Swami Prasad Maurya, UP’s Minister of labour, employment & coordination, resigned from Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet today and posted his resignation letter on the microblogging website Twitter. “Despite a divergent ideology, I worked with dedication in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet. But because of the grave oppression of Dalits, OBCs, farmers, unemployed and small businessmen, I am resigning,” he said.
- Shortly after his resignation, Mr Maurya met Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. Mr Yadav tweeted a photograph with Mr Maurya, welcoming him and his supporters to the Samajwadi Party. “I warmly welcome Swami Prasad Maurya, a leader who fights for social justice and equality, and all his supporters. There will be a revolution in social justice. Change is coming in 2022,” Mr Yadav tweeted in Hindi.
- Mr Maurya, a veteran politician and five-term MLA, had quit the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 2016, accusing the party of running a “money for ticket” syndicate. Ms Mayawati had denied the allegations. Mr Maurya then formed his own organisation called Loktantrik Bahujan Manch and was appointed a cabinet minister in Yogi Adityanath’s government in 2017.
- Swami Prasad Maurya’s daughter Sanghmitra Maurya is a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun.
- Mr Maurya is a powerful OBC (Other Backward Class) leader representing the Padrauna constituency in eastern Uttar Pradesh. In a warning to the BJP, he told reporters, “What impact my exit will have on the BJP will be obvious after the 2022 assembly election.”