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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Expelled BSP MLAs meet Akhilesh Yadav, likely to join SP ahead of 2022 UP elections

Sushma Patel, MLA from Mungra Badshahpur constituency, said "it is certain" she would be contesting the 2022 assembly polls in SP ticket.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow |
Updated: June 15, 2021 8:19:32 pm
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At least five expelled Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs met Samajwadi Party (SP) President Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Tuesday morning, leading to speculation about them joining the SP in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in 2022.

Sushma Patel, an MLA from Mungra Badshahpur constituency in Jaunpur district, told The Indian Express that five MLAs including herself, met the SP chief to “discuss their future”. “You can say that it is certain that I will be contesting the 2022 elections on SP ticket,” said Patel.

She said these five MLAs are among the seven expelled from the BSP in October last year after they opposed the nomination of its official candidate Ramji Gautam for the Rajya Sabha elections.

The seven MLAs were Chaudhary Aslam Ali (Dholana, Hapur) Hakim Lal Bind (Handia, Prayagraj), Mohammad Mujtaba Siddiqui (Pratappur, Prayagraj), Aslam Raini (Bhinga, Shravasti), Sushma Patel (Mungra Badshahpur, Jaunpur), Hargovind Bhargava (Sidhauli, Sitapur) and Bandana Singh (Sagdi, Azamgarh).

“Aslam Ali from Hapur was also supposed to come, but he couldn’t as his wife is contesting the zila panchayat election in the district,” said Patel.

“All seven MLAs were wrongly expelled from the party during the Rajya Sabha polls last year. We were told not to use party symbol or flag and not to attend party meetings. It was done based on speculation that we had met Akhileshji before the election. We were not given a chance to explain ourselves,” said Patel.

Another MLA who met Akhilesh on Tuesday — Mohammad Mujtaba Siddiqui — confirmed the meeting. “It was a formal meeting with the SP chief. We are likely to have other meetings in the future to discuss what has to be done,” said Siddiqui.

On June 3, BSP chief Mayawati expelled two of its most prominent leaders, Lalji Verma and Ram Achal Rajbhar, for “indulging in anti-party activities” during the recent panchayat polls. Verma was the leader of the party in the state assembly, while Rajbhar is a former state BSP chief and has been a minister in previous BSP governments.

Following the previous expulsions, this left the BSP with just seven MLAs in the assembly, with one of them (Mukhtar Ansari) in jail. It had won 19 out of 403 seats in the 2017 assembly elections.

“Lalji Verma and Aram Achal Rajbhar did not come for the meeting on Tuesday. Once we discuss things with them, we will see what has to be done,” added Siddiqui.

Meanwhile, a senior SP leader told The Indian Express that Rajbhar and Verma are also in talks with the party. “They are very senior leaders. They have met our national president, and have discussed possibilities. Nothing has been finalised yet,” said the leader.

Aslam Raini said that the expelled MLAs are thinking of forming a new party. “There are 11 MLAs who have been suspended by the party. We are all in touch. If we can get another MLA, we can form our own party. Once we form our party, our leader will be Lalji Verma,” said Raini in Lucknow on Tuesday.

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