In a jolt to the BJP ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, Minister Swami Prasad Maurya on Tuesday resigned from the state cabinet

In a jolt to the Ruling Party BJP ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, BJP Minister Swami Prasad Maurya on Tuesday resigned from the state cabinet.  

In the hours that followed, four more MLAs close to him – Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati, Bhagwati Sagar and Vinay Shakya  announced their resignations.

Swami Prasad Maurya, a powerful OBC (Other Backward Class) leader and five-time MLA, joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). 

He was central to the BJP’s plans to draw a critical section of OBC voters to counter Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.

Political circles inside BJP concluded the other three defectors have travelled the same route as Mr Maurya  from the BSP to the BJP to Samajwadi Party.

Informing about his decision, Maurya said in a tweet in Hindi, “Due to the attitude of gross neglect towards Dalits, backwards, farmers, unemployed youth and small and medium-sized traders, I am resigning from the council of ministers of Yogi (Adityanath) of UP.”  

He also told reporters: “What impact my exit will have on the BJP will be obvious after the 2022 assembly election.”

As his letter emerged on Twitter, Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a photograph with Mr Maurya, welcoming him and his supporters to the Samajwadi Party.

The exits reinforced the view that resentment in the ranks against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is an issue the BJP has left unaddressed.

Mr Maurya’s decision had been months in the making. Sources say two months ago, he had complained to Union Home Minister Amit Shah about Yogi Adityanath. But nothing reportedly came of it.

In his resignation letter addressed to Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Maurya said, “I discharged my responsibilities as the minister for labour, employment, coordination in the council of ministers headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, despite adverse (‘vipreet’) circumstances and ideology.”  

Maurya, is the MLA from Padrauna. His daughter Sanghmitra Maurya is a BJP MP and represents Badaun in Lok Sabha.  

Roshan Lal Varma, who came to Raj Bhawan with Swami Prasad Maurya’s resignation letter, said that Maurya was unwell and hence he had brought the resignation of Maurya.  

He said Maurya had already emailed his resignation to the Governor.  Replying to a question, he said, “I will decide after Maurya’s resignation is accepted. About other MLAs, you will come to know by January 14.”