UP Elections 2022: Minister Swami Prasad Maurya quits BJP, joins Samajwadi Party

Maurya said that “negligent attitude towards Dalits, backward, farmers, unemployed youth, small and medium businessmen” were the reason behind his resignation.

Maurya said that "negligent attitude towards Dalits, backward, farmers, unemployed youth, small and medium businessmen" were the reason behind his resignation.

In what comes as a big jolt to the BJP ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, which are less than a month away, state cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya on Tuesday quit the party and joined the Samajwadi Party. He represented the Padrauna constituency of Uttar Pradesh and joined BJP in 2016, after quitting the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Maurya posted his resignation letter on Twitter and wrote that “negligent attitude towards Dalits, backward, farmers, unemployed youth, small and medium businessmen” were the reason behind his resignation.

Soon after, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a photo of him welcoming Maurya into the party. “Warm welcome and greetings to the popular leader Shri Swami Prasad Maurya ji who fought for social justice and equality and all the other leaders, workers and supporters who came with him in SP! There will be revolution of social justice~ There will be change in twenty two,” he tweeted.

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya 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,” he wrote.

Maurya is the BJP MLA from Padrauna in eastern Uttar Pradesh. His daughter Sanghamitra is a BJP MP from UP.

The assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases between February 10 and March 7 and the counting of votes will be done on March 10.

Several pre-poll surveys have predicted a comfortable victory for the BJP but at the cost of a loss of major seat share which might come as a direct gain for the Samajwadi Party.

The switchover of Maurya from BJP to SP is being seen as a part of SP’s strategy to consolidate Non-Yadav OBC voters on its side ahead of the assembly polls. The Samajwadi Party has been trying to rope in regional caste-based parties and has joined hands with Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Suhuldev Bahujan Samaj Party and Jayant Choudhary-led Rashtriya Lok Dal, which has a strong support base in western Uttar Pradesh.

The SP hopes to capitalise on the farmers’ angst against the BJP over the now-repealed farm laws that led to the year-long protests on Delhi borders and also over the handling of the second COVID wave by the Yogi Adityanath government.

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