The principal opposition in Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council, Samajwadi Party (SP) on Wednesday received another jolt with a senior party leader and a member of legislative council (MLC) tendering his resignation from the upper house.
Seasoned politician, Ashok Bajpai, who is a close aide of ex-party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, is the fourth SP MLC to have resigned over the last 10 days. He joined the league of Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant Singh and Sarojini Agarwal to have resigned from his Vidhan Parishad seat.
While Nawab and Singh had resigned on July 29, Agarwal had tendered her resignation on August 4. The three had already joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party
A senior Bahujan Samaj Party
(BSP) member and former UP minister Jaiveer Singh had also resigned on July 29 and later latched on to the BJP. Meanwhile, there are indications that Bajpai is also likely to join BJP.
According to sources, more resignations are expected to emanate from SP, which has been hard pressed to keep its flock together over the last one year after a bitter party feud broke out in the outfit.
The desertions gathered steam after Akhilesh Yadav
displaced his father Mulayam Yadav
as the party president on January 1, 2017. Later, the crushing defeat in the UP poll further fuelled the intraparty bickering, giving rise to more resignations, sackings and bitterness.
All the four SP MLCs have attributed their resignations to the lack of leadership in SP and disrespect to Mulayam for giving up their upper house seat.
Nonetheless, the spate of resignations has provided a big relief to BJP as UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, his two deputies viz. Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, two senior ministers Swatantra Dev Singh and Mohsin Raza are not yet members of any of the two houses of the state legislature.
While Yogi and Maurya are parliamentarians from Gorakhpur and Phoolpur (Allahabad) constituencies respectively, the other three are not members of any federal or provincial houses.
According to rule, a member of the state council of ministers is required to get elected to either of the houses within six months of assuming office.
Since the Yogi council of ministers had taken oath of office on March 19, they have time until September 18 to get elected to either Vidhan Sabha through direct polls or indirectly to the Vidhan Parishad.
By fielding its top leaders, who are already officiating as ministers, including Yogi, in the Vidhan Sabha poll, the BJP does not want to give the opposition any chance to forge a unified front against BJP. Therefore, the party is seeking the back door entry for Yogi and four of his ministers to the state legislature.
Meanwhile, Yogi, on Wednesday kicked off his visits to eastern UP districts, including Gorakhpur and the flooded terai region districts.