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U.P. Assembly Elections 2022 | Jolt to BJP as another Minister quits Yogi Adityanath Cabinet

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In a second big blow to the BJP within a span of 24 hours, another senior OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan resigned from the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet on Wednesday accusing the government of neglecting the OBC, Dalit, farmers, youth and deprived sections. Mr. Chauhan followed the path of fellow OBC leader Swami Prasad Maurya who on Tuesday tendered his resignation from the Cabinet.

Also read: Two Opposition MLAs, one former MLA, join BJP ahead of Uttar Pradesh Assembly election

Soon after Mr. Chauhan quit his ministerial post, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav shared a picture of himself with Mr. Chauhan, welcoming the latter into the SP fold.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is with Dara Singh Chauhan in Lucknow after the latter quit the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet on January 12, 2022. Photo: Twitter/@yadavakhilesh
 

 

Mr. Yadav hailed Mr. Chauhan as the “relentless fighter of the struggle for social justice.” However, Mr. Chauhan said he would consult his supporters and community before deciding the next step.

Mr. Maurya, meanwhile, said that on January 14, he would start a “new innings” in politics with a “historical decision” in Lucknow.

In his resignation letter to Governor Anandiben Patel, Mr. Chauhan, who belongs to the Noniya Chauhan OBC community, said he was “hurt” by the tampering with the reservation of OBCs and Dalits by the BJP government. The BJP came to power through the “support and blessings” of the backward caste, Dalit and deprived sections but they were neglected over the past five years, Mr. Chauhan later said. “Some people got the cream …they [Dalit and OBC] did not get justice or respect,” he said.

 

Mr. Chauhan resigned as the Cabinet Minister for Forest, Environment, Zoological Garden departments.

Mr. Chauhan, an MLA from Mau’s Madhuban seat, had joined the BJP after quitting the BSP on whose symbol he had won the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Ghosi. Prior to that, he was a Rajya Sabha member till 2006.

After Mr. Chauhan’s departure, Mr. Yadav said the SP and its allies would take the “movement for samta-samanta [equality] to its peak and remove discrimination.” “Sabko samman, sabko sthan (respect for all, a place for all),” Mr. Yadav said, coining a new slogan to define his politics of bringing together smaller OBC-based parties to challenge the BJP’s arithmetic.

 

While BJP Minister Nand Gopal ‘Nandi’ Gupta questioned the timing of Mr. Chauhan’s resignation and work for OBCs and Dalits, his colleague and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya tried to control the damage. Mr. Maurya, the BJP’s main OBC face in the government, said the leaders leaving the BJP would themselves have to bear the losses of jumping into “a sinking boat.” He, however, asked Mr. Chauhan, “elder brother,” to reconsider his decision and said that when a member of the family strayed away it was bound to hurt.

Mr. Yadav, who is set to become the beneficiary of these rebellions, exuded confidence that 80% of the voters were now with the SP and its allies.

On Wednesday, Mr. Yadav put up a show of unity with his allies, with whom he held a meeting to discuss the seat-sharing and campaign strategy. His uncle Shivpal Yadav, cousin Aditya Yadav, Om Prakash Rajbhar of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, Masood Ahmad (UP RLD president), Sanjay Chauhan (Janvadi Party Socialist), Keshav Dev Maurya (Mahan Dal), Krishna Patel (Apna Dal Kameravadi president and mother of Union Minister and BJP ally Anupriya Patel) and K. K Sharma of the NCP attended the meeting.

The SP alliance could soon declare the candidates for the first two phases of the election.



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