Updated: June 4, 2021 7:03:07 am
With the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh just about six months away, BSP chief Mayawati on Thursday expelled two of its most prominent leaders, Lalji Verma and Ram Achal Rajbhar, for “indulging in anti-party activities” during the recent panchayat polls.
Added to the expulsions by Mayawati earlier, this leaves the BSP with just seven MLAs in the Assembly, with one of them (Mukhtar Ansari) in jail. It had won 19 seats of 403 in the 2017 Assembly elections.
Verna, however, said he was very much in the BSP still, had no plans of joining any other party, and was hopeful of ironing out differences after meeting Mayawati. He also pointed out that all those expelled continued to technically be members of the BSP as Mayawati hadn’t written to the Speaker about them.
While Verma is a five-time MLA from Katehri seat in Ambedkarnagar district, a BSP stronghold, and the leader of the party in the Assembly, Rajbhar is an MLA from Akbarpur in Amedkarnagar. While Rajbhar doesn’t hold a post in the BSP currently, he was earlier the state chief of the party and its joint national general secretary. He has been a minister in BSP governments in the past, like Verma, a Kurmi leader.
The BSP announced that Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali would replace Verma as its leader in the Assembly. Alam is a two-time MLA from Mubarakpur in Azamgarh district.
Verma told The Indian Express that an Ambedkarnagar leader, Ghanshyam Singh Kharwar, had misled Mayawati about him. “Kharwar told Behenji that I acted against the party in the panchayat polls and was likely to join another party. Firstly, I was in a hospital in Lucknow during the panchayat polls, and I am not joining any other party. I still consider myself a BSP leader. Kharwar’s candidates lost in the panchayat polls, and to hide his failures, he said all this,” Verma said.
He added that he had been trying to talk to Mayawati to clarify this, but had not been able to. “I hope I am given a chance,” he said.
Earlier, in June 2016, Swami Prasad Maurya had quit the BSP accusing Mayawati of deceiving Dalits and taking bribes for election tickets. The BSP also lost OBC leaders Dara Chauhan and Dharmpal Saini, apart from Maurya. In May 2017, the BSP had expelled national general secretary Nasimuddin Siddiqui for “anti-party activities” and “indiscipline”. He was also accused of financial wrongdoings.
Maurya is now a minister in the BJP government, while Siddiqui is with the Congress.
Sources said that Verma is cautious about switching to another party seeing what happened to leaders like Babu Singh Kushwaha, Siddiqui and Maurya. Sources said Maurya might have a ministerial post but no importance in the BJP while the Congress is struggling to retain a foothold in UP.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.