By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2022-01-14 09:56:17
As expected, both S P Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini, ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government in UP, along with Bhagwati Sagar (MLA from Bilhaur), Roshanlal Verma (Tilhar), Vinay Shakya (Bidhuna ), Brijesh Prajapati (Tindwari) and Mukesh Verma (Shikohabad), joined the Samajwadi party (SP) today in the presence of Akhilesh Yadav. All of them had quit the BJP in the last couple of days. This creates a huge void in the OBC leadership in the state BJP while helping the SP to get its caste arithmetic right.
Apart from this, former BSP MLA Neeraj Kushawaha Maurya, former BJP MLC Harpal Saini, former BSP MLA Balram Saini, former BJP MLA Rajendra Pratap Singh, former Minister of State Vidrohi Maurya, former Chief Security Officer Padam Singh and former Congress MLA Bansi Singh Pahadiya also joined the SP today.
Although there are reports that the lower rung leadership and the workers of SP are not enthused, even hostile in some places, over the admission of these turncoats, that is par for the course when leaders from outside are admitted in any party. Local leaders feel threatened that their turf will be usurped and workers feel embarrassed in canvassing for someone who they had opposed all these years. But the bigger picture is that if they see the winds of change and feel that it is the best strategy to unseat the BJP government and grab power, they will cooperate wholeheartedly.
The BJP had reduced SP to a party of Yadavs and Muslims by bringing OBCs under its platform from 2014 onwards. Akhilesh Yadav sensed this. He knew that only the Yadav and Muslim vote banks were not enough to beat the BJP despite the anti-incumbency wave. As the experiment of allying with the BSP had failed in 2017, he knew he needed the support of the numerous small parties that represented these OBCs across UP. Hence, assiduously and secretly (to the complete shock of the ever vigilant BJP) he has worked to get them on his platform. As of now, the alliance Akhilesh Yadav has stitched together seems to have what it will take to give a huge fight to the BJP.
The lead picture is courtesy ANI and taken from a tweet by ANI