In a big exit from the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government just before the Uttar Pradesh election, Swami Prasad Maurya has quit as minister and switched to the rival Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav. Reports suggest he may take a few more MLAs with him.
“Despite a divergent ideology, I worked with dedication in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet. But because of the grave oppression of Dalits, OBCs, farmers, unemployed and small businessmen, I am resigning,” Swami Prasad Maurya wrote in a stinging resignation letter.
Even before his letter emerged, he met with Akhilesh Yadav and joined the Samajwadi Party.
Mr Maurya, a powerful OBC (Other Backward Class) leader and multiple-term MLA, joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Mr Maurya is the BJP MLA from Padrauna in eastern Uttar Pradesh. His daughter, Sanghamitra, is a BJP MP from UP.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most politically vital state, votes from February 10 in seven rounds in an election widely seen as a semifinal of sorts before the national election of 2024. The results will be declared on March 10.