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Uttar Pradesh: Rebel SP, BSP MLCs join saffron fold 

The former MLCs, whose resignations paved way for induction of UP CM Yogi Adityanath and deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma into the state legislature, joined the BJP.

lucknow Updated: Aug 01, 2017 15:44 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey/Pawan Dixit
Manish Chandra Pandey/Pawan Dixit
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
The resignations mean that there will now be four vacancies in the upper house.(HT Photo)

The three MLCs who had quit their seats to facilitate the entry of five ministers, including Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sarma, to the Council, formally joined the BJP hours before party president Amit Shah left Lucknow on Monday.

Interestingly, just before the joining of three opposition MLCs – two from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and one from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) – Shah denied any knowledge of the development.

The former MLCs, whose resignations from the UP Legislative Council have been accepted, joined the BJP in the presence of state party chief and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.

All the three leaders – Bukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh (SP) and Jaiveer Singh (BSP) – slammed their parties and praised the BJP.

Bukkal and Yashwant belonged to the camp of disgruntled SP leader Shivpal Yadav. Bukkal supported the BJP’s stance on Ram Temple in Ayodhya but claimed that he quit the SP as the party targeted the Shia community when it was in power.

Yashwant, who is considered close to independent lawmaker and influential Thakur leader Raja Bhaiyya, claimed he left the SP as he was miffed with Akhilesh’s reaction on the tension between India and China.

The resignations have ensured smooth sailing for CM Yogi Adityanath, his deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma and two other ministers who will now be able to become the members of UP assembly by September 19.

Unlike Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath and deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, who won the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat for the first time for the BJP in 2014, deputy CM Dinesh Sharma and ministers Swatantra Dev Singh and Mohsin Raza have never contested elections.

These resignations mean that there will now be four vacancies in the upper house. Earlier, no other vacancy, barring the one from Badaun, was expected before September 2018.

That the ‘script’ was written under the BJP’s guidance was apparent when Yogi ministers Laxmi Narain and Swami Prasad Maurya, along with BJP leader Dayashankar Singh, accompanied BSP MLC Jaiveer Singh when he went to submit his resignation to the chairman of legislative council Ramesh Yadav.

An MLA has to contest direct polls but election to the Council is determined on the basis of a party’s strength. With 325 members in the 403-member assembly, the BJP could comfortably ensure the victory of its candidates.

Former UP CMs Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati had preferred to become MLCs. A section in the BJP wanted Adityanath and deputy CMs to become MLCs rather than facing direct election.

Angered by the breakup of the RJD-JD (U) alliance in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav is working hard to bring the SP and the BSP together in UP as part of an attempt to forge a grand alliance to stop the BJP, first in by-polls to two Lok Sabha seats and later in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

First Published: Aug 01, 2017 15:44 IST