NEW DELHI: Rebel BJP leaders of Uttar Pradesh led by former minister Swami Prasad Maurya joined the Samajwadi Party on Friday in the presence of Akhilesh Yadav.
Three ministers and 8 MLAs had quit the BJP over the last few days accusing the Yogi Adityanath government of neglecting the backwards and the dalits in the last 5 years.
“BJP leaders who question the timing of our resignation or who allege that I wanted a ticket for my son, should tell the people that we were promised in 2017 that Keshav Prasad Maurya or Swami Prasad Maurya would be the chief minister and lead the government, but later we were sidelined,” Swami Prasad Maurya said at the virtual rally held to induct them into Samajwadi Party.
“This is the beginning of the end of the BJP in the state,” Maurya claimed.
Along with Swami Prasad Maurya, the other leaders who joined the Samajwadi Party today included former minister Dharam Singh Saini, five rebel BJP MLAs and one MLA of Apna Dal (Sonelal) Amar Singh Choudhury, who represents Shohratgarh.
The five BJP MLAs are Bhagwati Sagar (Bilhaur in Kanpur), Roshanlal Verma (Tilhar in Shahjahanpur), Vinay Shakya (Bidhuna in Auraiya), Brijesh Prajapati (Tindwari in Bahraich) and Mukesh Verma (Shikohabad in Firozabad).
While the rebels formally joined the Samajwadi Party today, Akhilesh Yadav had already tweeted pictures with the three former ministers welcoming them into his party.
The rebels have claimed that more ministers and MLAs would quit the BJP in the run up to the assembly elections.
The BJP initially tried to win back the rebels but later played down the resignations.
Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar said “Resignations are not a big deal in Uttar Pradesh. BJP is getting support from everywhere in the state. People will bless us and BJP will be successful in forming govt in UP, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.”
Uttar Pradesh will vote to elect a new assembly in 7 phases starting from February 10. The counting of votes will be done on March 10.
(With inputs from agencies)

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