In UP, Opposition chaos
With SP and BSP battling internal crises, their Legislators seek better options
As expected, three Members of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council, two from the Samajwadi Party and one from the Bahujan Samaj Party, joined the BJP at a low-key function in the State party headquarters in Lucknow on Monday. They had resigned from their respective parties and the Council, paving the way for the entry of five Ministers in Yogi Adityanath’s Government. Chief Minister Adityanath, his two deputies, Dinesh Sharma and Keshav Prasad Maurya, and two other Ministers, Swantantra Deo Singh and Mohsin Raza, are not members of either the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council and must become members of one of these by September 18. As the BJP is not very inclined to go for direct elections, these resignations have facilitated the entry of these Ministers in the upper House of the State Legislature. The ‘deal’ between the BJP and these MLCs is not clear. One thing is as clear as daylight, though: There is confusion in the rank and file of both the SP and the BSP because of the policies of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati respectively. Both the parties are losing ground in Uttar Pradesh fast. The family feud in the Samajwadi Party has led to a large-scale exodus of senior leaders such as Ambika Chaudhry and Narad Rai. Even SPS Baghel, who is a Minister in Yogi Government, was a close lieutenant of Mulayam Singh Yadav, had left Samajwadi Party and joined BJP before Assembly election. Shivpal Singh Yadav, who was one time the second in command in the party, has unfurled a banner of revolt against Akhilesh Yadav. Every second day he is issuing statements against Akhilesh Yadav. He made his intentions clear when he voted against Samajwadi Party backed nominee Meira Kumar in the presidential election. Instead, he voted for NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind. Shivpal Singh Yadav has met Chief Minister Yogi thrice in the last four months, giving rise to speculations.
What has added to the confusion is an incident where senior leader Naresh Agarwal threw a birthday party in honour of Ram Gopal Yadav in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended that birthday bash while Akhilesh Yadav was conspicuous by his absence. Doubts are being raised about relations between Ram Gopal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav. The scenario in the BSP is no different. Senior leaders like Swami Prasad Maurya, Nasimuddin Siddiqui and Brijesh Pathak have deserted Mayawati, giving a body blow to her formula of social engineering. Siddiqui was the Muslim face of the party and Pathak was instrumental in bringing Brahmins in the party's fold. With the caste umbrella reduced to shreds, the party received a major political jolt in the 2014 Lok Sabh as well as 2017 Assembly elections. The BSP’s core vote-bank has shifted considerably to the BJP. In a situation where both the SP and the BSP are fighting a battle for survival, Legislators are naturally seeking better options.
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