Lucknow: In another jolt to the ruling BJP in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan resigned Wednesday from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet and appeared to be headed towards the Samajwadi Party.
A day earlier as BJP leaders brainstormed in Delhi on the UP assembly polls state Labour Minister Swami Prasad Maurya quit. Three other BJP MLAs also announced their resignation from the party on Tuesday.
Though Maurya, a prominent Other Backward Class (OBC) leader, has not made it clear that he is joining the Samajwadi Party, the SP has tweeted a welcome message.
The recent developments appear to strengthen the SP's influence among the non-Yadav OBCs in the state, less than a month before the crucial elections that will also have an impact on the 2024 parliamentary polls.
Chauhan said he had worked with dedication for the past five year but Dalits, the OBCs and the unemployed did not get justice from the BJP government.
'It was the poor who had made the government but others took all the advantage in the past five years," he said, after sending the resignation letter to Governor Anandiben Patel.
Chauhan, the minister for forests and environment, said he had been informing the party high command about the problems all through.
But he was ignored as he was talking about the backward and Dalits, he claimed.
Like Swami Prasad Maurya, he did not give a categorical answer when asked whether he was joining the SP. Chauhan said he would consult his supporters before deciding on a future course of action.
SP president Akhilesh Yadav, however, welcomed Dara Singh Chauhan in the party-fold.
"Hearty welcome and greetings to Shri Dara Singh Chauhan ji, the relentless fighter of the struggle for social justice. The SP and its allies will unite and take the movement of equality to its height... eliminate discrimination! It is our collective resolve! Respect everyone -- space for everyone," Yadav tweeted in Hindi.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya urged Chauhan to think again.
"It hurts if any member of the family strays. I would only urge the respected gentlemen that it would be their loss only if they board a sinking boat. Elder brother Dara Singh ji, please reconsider your decision, he tweeted in Hindi.
On Tuesday, he had made a similar appeal to Swami Prasad Maurya.
In the resignation letter, Chauhan said, "I have worked with full diligence for the betterment of my departments."
"But troubled by the complete neglect of the backwards, the deprived, Dalits, farmers and unemployed youth, besides the messing up of the reservation facility for Dalits and the backwards, I am tendering my resignation from the cabinet," the letter added.
Chauhan represents Madhuban assembly constituency in Mau district.
He has also represented Ghosi seat in the 15th Lok Sabha for the Bahujan Samaj Party. In the next Lok Sabha elections, he was defeated by the BJP's Harinarayan Rajbhar by over 1.4 lakh votes.
He joined the BJP in 2015 and was appointed the party's OBC Morcha president and fielded from the Madhuban assembly constituency.
NCP to tie up with SP
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said his party would contest the ensuing Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh as part of the Samajwadi Party-led alliance.
He also said 13 members of the Legislative Assembly in Uttar Pradesh will be joining the Samajwadi Party.
Pawar slammed UP CM Yogi Adityanath over the latter's 80:20 remarks. Yogi Adityanath has called the UP election an "80 versus 20 battle", in a highly controversial comment seen to imply a religious divide. The numbers citied by him roughly correspond to the ratio of Hindus to Muslims in UP. Such remarks don't befit the stature of a chief minister. But that is their (BJP) ideology.
People of UP will give a befitting response to such ideology, Pawar said.