There seems to be no end in sight for the woes of Samajwadi Party as speculations are rife that two more of its Rajya Sabha members are set to resign from the party and join the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Chaudhary Sukhram Singh Yadav from Kanpur and Vishambhar Prasad Nishad from Banda, both loyalists of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, are said to be unhappy with the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav and would be jumping ship for greener pastures.
Yadav and Nishad were elected to the Rajya Sabha on July 5, 2016 and their terms end on July 4, 2022.
Having a Yadav and a Nishad leader, both from the dominant Other Backward Class community, will help the BJP in consolidating its support among these electorally significant communities, besides being beneficial in the by-elections to 13 Assembly seats and in the 2022 UP Assembly elections.
According to sources, both Yadav and Nishad have held several meetings with senior BJP leaders in Delhi and it could be a matter of time before they put in their papers and join the saffron brigade.
The BJP is on a very strong wicket when it comes to getting Rajya Sabha members elected from the state. With its present strength in the UP Assembly, the party is certain to win at least 10, if not 11, Rajya Sabha seats of the total 12 which are going to fall vacant in 2022.
On the other hand, this will be a big blow to the Samajwadi Party, which has witnessed mass exodus of its leaders in the state. The party, which had 14 Rajya Sabha members, saw its numbers decreasing in the Upper House with the defection of Amar Singh. The next one to desert the samajwadi camp was Neeraj Shekhar, son of late Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.
Among those who followed suit were Gurjar leader Surendra Singh Nagar and national treasurer of the party Sanjay Seth.
The Samajwadi Party is now left with only 10 Rajya Sabha members and the resignation of two more would further decrease its strength to just eight.
As a matter of fact, all in the Samajwadi Party know that with its depleted strength, the party will manage to send only one candidate to the Rajya Sabha in 2022.
The SP leaders who lost Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and would be keen for a Rajya Sabha berth include Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav and cousins Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav.
Former Samajwadi Party MPs Sanjay Seth and Surendra Singh Nagar, who had quit the party on August 5 and August 2 respectively, joined the BJP on Saturday.
The two leaders, who had also recently resigned from the Rajya Sabha, joined the BJP in the presence of party’s national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav at Delhi.