In a fresh jolt to the BSP ahead of the 2017 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, four of its MLAs Monday joined the BJP, the move coming just two days after Mayawati indicated that her party could face more desertions as tickets of about one dozen sitting legislators have been cancelled.
The MLAs who joined BJP are Harvinder Kumar alias Romi Sahani from Pallia in Kheri district, Mahavir Rana from Behat (Saharanpur), Roshanlal Verma from Tilhar (Shahjahanpur) and Om Kumar from Nahtaur (Bijnor). While Sahani and Verma are OBCs, Rana is an upper-caste leader. Kumar is a Dalit of Jatav sub-caste. In July last, Sahni had led an open revolt against Mayawati charging her with demanding money for allotting tickets.
Inducting them in the party in Lucknow, state BJP Keshav Prasad Maurya trained his guns at Mayawati terming her “anti-Dalit” and claimed that she was indulging in “the politics of appeasement, which has angered BSP leaders and workers”. He alleged that the BSP chief believes that “Dalits will support her only if they face atrocities”.
Meanwhile, BSP issued a statement claiming that the four MLAs who joined BJP had been denied tickets for the upcoming elections. It also claimed that three of them – Sahani, Verma and Rana — have already been expelled by BSP.
The party said that their induction in BJP only confirmed Mayawati’s claim that the saffron party did not have candidates to field in the elections. The BSP also said the BJP was indulging in “misuse of power” by poaching people from other parties and it will have to face the consequences of its “corrupt behaviour”.
Earlier, while indicated that BSP could face more desertions, Mayawati had asserted that even if such “deserters” join another party to get tickets for elections, it will not “affect the BSP’s increasing public support” in UP.
BJP has already inducted four other MLAs who deserted BSP. They include Swami Prasad Maurya, who later resigned from Assembly, Udai Lal Maurya, Rajesh Tripathi and Bala Prasad Awasthi.