Highlights

  • UP minister Swami Prasad Maurya quits BJP, joins SP
  • At least 4 MLAs quit after Maurya's announcement: reports
  • UP Deputy CM asked Maurya to hold talks, not quit

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Swami Prasad Maurya cited oppression of Dalits, OBCs, farmers, unemployed and small businessmen for his decision.

In a setback for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh, a state minister defected to the Opposition Samajwadi Party just weeks before elections.

Swami Prasad Maurya, Minister of Labour, Employment and Coordination in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet announced his resignation via Twitter. He cited oppression of Dalits, OBCs, farmers, unemployed and small businessmen for his decision.

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Subsequently, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a photograph of a meeting with Maurya. Akhilesh welcomed him and all the leaders, workers, and supporters who follow him to the Samajwadi Party.


Meanwhile, UP deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya tweeted an appeal to Swami Prasad to hold talks with the BJP leadership. The deputy CM said that he is unaware of the circumstances under which Maurya quit but said that hasty decisions often turn out to be faulty.

Maurya, considered an influential an OBC leader, had joined the BJP after quitting Mayawati's BSP ahead of the 2017 elections. He hails from Padrauna in Kushinagar.

Reports suggested that after Maurya's resignation, 3 MLAs - Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati, and Bhagwati Sagar also quit.

The defections occurred as the BJP held a core committee meeting on the UP polls at the party's Delhi headquarters.

Meanwhile, even as the BJP lost leaders in UP, it gained some in another poll-bound state - Punjab.

Former Congress MLA and businessman Arvind Khanna, Kanwar Singh Tohra, the grandson of late Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Akali Dal's Gurdeep Singh Gosha, and former Amritsar councillor Dharamveer Sareen reportedly joined BJP.

Uttar Pradesh is going to polls in 7 phases from February 10. Punjab will vote on February 14. Results will be declared on March 10.

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