Big jolt to the BJP and Yogi Adityanath just before the Uttar Pradesh election, senior leader Swami Prasad Maurya today quit as minister and joined rival Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav. Moments after he posted his resignation letter on Twitter, another MLA, Roshan Lal Verma, announced his resignation.
Reports suggest Mr Maurya may take a few more ministers and MLAs with him.
“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,” Swami Prasad Maurya wrote in the stinging resignation letter.
As his letter emerged on Twitter, Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a photograph with Mr Maurya, welcoming him and his supporters to the Samajwadi Party.
On cue, Roshan Lal Verma, a three-time MLA, declared that he was leaving the BJP with Mr Maurya.
Keshav Prasad Maurya, Deputy Chief Minister, posted an appeal on Twitter: “I don’t know why Swami Prasad Maurya quit but I appeal to him, don’t quit but let us talk. Decisions taken in haste can backfire.”
The exits in Lucknow began as Yogi Adityanath and top BJP leaders met in Delhi to discuss Uttar Pradesh election strategy.
Mr Maurya, a powerful OBC (Other Backward Class) leader and multiple-term MLA, joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Mr Maurya is the BJP MLA from Padrauna in eastern Uttar Pradesh. His daughter Sanghamitra is a BJP MP from UP.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most politically vital state, votes from February 10 in seven rounds in an election widely seen as a semifinal of sorts before the national election of 2024. The results will be declared on March 10.