Battle for UP: Turncoats turn their backs on BJP

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Five years ago, the BJP had welcomed turncoats from other parties and flaunted it as an achievement.

The same turncoats are now living up to their reputation and changing loyalties when elections are round the corner.

Whether it is Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan, Bhagwati Sharan Sagar or Avatar Singh Bhadana, all these leaders had hitched on to the saffron bandwagon to enter the Vidhan Sabha.

Their exit in a series may not impact the BJP so much on the ground but it will definitely mount psychological pressure on the party managers and demoralise the cadres.

What is even more worrisome is the fact that almost all the deserters belong to various OBC groups and have levelled similar-sounding allegations against the party leadership.

These MLAs are not from one particular areas – Bhadana is from west UP and Maurya from eastern UP while the others are from central UP.

This will undoubtedly damage the BJP which has been strengthening its OBC outreach and trying to counter the resentment of Brahmins by consolidating the OBC votes.

When Om Prakash Rajbhar was dismissed from the Yogi government in 2019, political analysts said that his ouster would not have any impact on the BJP’s fortune. The BJP, on its part, propped up Anil Rajbhar in the ministry and tried to promote him as a leader of the Rajbhar community.

However, Om Prakash Rajbhar, who heads the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), launched a campaign against the BJP, worked his way into an alliance with the Samajwadi Party and became a rallying point for other smaller parties.

According to sources, what has actually triggered this crisis in the BJP is a statement made by a top leader in UP that new faces would be brought in for the Assembly elections.

As reports went around that almost 100 legislators would be replaced to counter the anti-incumbency factor, the sitting MLAs turned restive and started looking for greener pastures.

These resignations have spoilt the picture perfect that the BJP had been painting for the Assembly elections.

If sources are to be believed, the next batch of legislators – who are waiting for talks to finalise with other parties – will quit by levelling allegations of poor governance, caste dominance, bureaucratic indiscipline and apathy against the Yogi government.

“The resentment had been brewing since the past two years but none of the leaders bothered to address the situation. When 150 MLAs had staged a dharna inside the Assembly in 2019, instead of resolving issues, many were actually threatened by the Chief Minister. The fear of actin made these MLAs remain quiet but there is no stopping now,” said one of the disgruntled legislators.

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