Uttar Pradesh: Nine MLAs of Mayawati’s BSP met with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and are on the verge of crossing over to SP.
With the UP elections ahead in the next year, there is frantic reshuffling, huge changes and amid this turbulence, parties are sometimes also switching sides.
Lalji Verma and Ram Achal Rajbhar, the BSP’s senior-most MLAs, were expelled recently for “anti-party activities.” Lalji Verma was the legislature party leader in the UP assembly and Mr Rajbhar former state BSP chief; and a minister in former Chief Minister Mayawati previous governments. Both these MLAs were accused of damaging the BSP in recent panchayat elections.
They ended up meeting with Akhilesh Yadav and said that their problem was not with Mayawati but her deputy Satish Mishra and said “He is the one who misbehaved with our senior leaders Ram Achal Rajbhar and Lalji Verma,” They expressed open minds for all plausible avenues and indicated that joining the Samajwadi Party was only one of them.
The 11 expelled “rebels” indicated that they looked up to Lalji Verma as their leader. “We are 11 MLAs. If we get one more MLA we can form our own party and that is what we want to do. Our leader will be Lalji Verma and he will decide the name and other details of the party,” Mr Raini said.
The BSP won 19 seats in the 2017 assembly election and lost one in a by-election. Eleven have been expelled since.
Seven rebelled during the Rajya Sabha polls last year and were expelled and this left the party with only seven MLAs and at the same time, the expelled MLAs have not been disqualified yet.
The former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav lost power in the surging BJP saffron sweep in 2017, after which Yogi Adityanath assured the role. Akhilesh Yadav seems to be taking the bull by the horns by projecting his party as the key rival to the ruling BJP.
Irfan Solanki, Samajwadi Party MLA said, “People are meeting Akhilesh Yadav ahead of the assembly elections because the Samajwadi Party is a welcoming space unlike the oppressive nature of Mayawati and even the BJP. BSP and BJP MLAs are scared of expressing themselves, that is why they are coming to the SP.” He also said, “Every leader, irrespective of party, has a ground base,” a very primary base to prepare for elections.
The BSP’s loss is Samajwadi’s gain and especially in the last two years, after the SP-BSP’s alliance wobbled on shaky grounds in 2019, several BSP leaders have switched to the Samajwadi Party.
Akhilesh Yadav, president of the Samajwadi Party, served as the 20th Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2012 to 2017. Having assumed office on 15 March 2012 at the age of 38, he is the youngest person to have held the office. Yadav is the Member of Parliament for Azamgarh in the 17th Lok Sabha, being elected in 2019.
His first important victory in politics was being elected as the Member of the Lok Sabha for the Kannauj constituency in 2000. He is the son of veteran politician Mulayam Singh Yadav, the founder-patron of Samajwadi Party who has served as the Minister of Defence in the Government of India and three terms as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Akhilesh was schooled at the Military School in Dholpur, Rajasthan then received his Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Environmental Engineering at JSS Science and Technology University. He also has a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Sydney, Australia.