LUCKNOW: After Bihar and Gujarat, Amit Shah’s realpolitik reared up in Uttar Pradesh Saturday, on the very day he commenced his three-day jaunt to the saffron state. Three legislators from rival camps – two from the Samajwadi Party and one from the Bahujan Samaj Party -- resigned from the Legislative Council as well as their respective parties.
All the three have reportedly vacated their seats to make way for chief minister Yogi Adityanath and four of his ministers who have to become legislators by September 18 to be able to remain in the ministry.
The two SP MLCs who have resigned are Bukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh while the BSP lawmaker is Thakur Jaiveer Singh. In addition, another SP MLC Madhukar Jaitley also went to put in his papers to the Legislative Council chairman but returned without doing so after reportedly talking to Shivpal Yadav, uncle of the SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. Later in the evening, Shivpal claimed credit for stopping Jaitley from quitting.
Commenting on these developments, Akhilesh Yadav called it a political corruption of the highest order that the BJP was indulging in. “We have seen it in Bihar and Gujarat, now it is in UP,” he said, adding that those who want to part ways were free to switch. He accused the BJP of poaching on his MLCs so as to avoid facing the people in the upcoming by-polls.
“It’s just four months since their government came to power in the state and they are shying away from facing the people. I would like to ask my party’s MLCs who have quit why they want to help the BJP,” he wondered.
Similarly, BSP chief Mayawati dubbed it as the BJP’s boundless hunger for power.
“After Goa, Manipur, Bihar and Gujarat, now UP is the BJP’s target. I will appeal my legislators not to succumb to the temptations being extended by the BJP,” she stated.
However, BJP leaders paid coy: “Please don’t attach these resignations with Amit Shah’s Lucknow visit. He has come here as part of his tour which he is undertaking across the country,” said BJP spokesman Chandra Mohan, adding that it was a personal decision of the MLCs to defect at this point in time.
Five BJP ministers including Yogi Adityanath, deputy CMS Keshav Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, ministers of state Swatantra Deo Singh and Mohsin Raza need seats in the legislature to keep their posts.
As per highly-placed sources, the three defecting MLCs are likely to join the saffron ranks. Moreover, there were strong rumours afloat that certain other leaders -- Ambika Chaudhary and Naseemuddin Siddiqui, an erstwhile BSP stalwart who was expelled from the blue brigade by chief Mayawati in May, -- are also said to be in touch with the BJP leadership.
Bukkal Nawab, founder president of Rashtriya Shia Samaj, had been with the SP since 1992. He has been general secretary of the party twice and tried his luck in electoral politics twice but failed. He was sent to the Council in 2012 and again in 2016.
Yashwant Singh, on the other hand, is supposed to be close to Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya who is believed to have a good equation with the present BJP dispensation. Both Bukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh have terms in the Council till 2022.
Immediately after tendering his resignation, Bukkal Nawab sang paeans of PM Modi And Yogi Adityanath, saying both were doing good work while following the ideal of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. He also supported a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
About joining the BJP, Nawab did not rule out the possibility, saying he had been feeling suffocated in the Samajwadi Party for the last two years as the organisation was reduced to a family ‘akhada’. As per SP sources, Nawab belongs to Mulayam faction in the party.
The Samajwadi party has 66 seats in a Legislative Council of 100. That number will now dwindle to 63 and is likely to accrue to the BJP which has just eight seats. As per informed sources, some SP MLAs too may jump the fence in the coming days. That doesn’t seem to be out of the realm of possibility in view of Shivpal Yadav gravitating to Adityanath lately.
Bukkhal Nawab faces serious charges of land grabbing and has received notices from the Lucknow Development Authority. Yashwant Singh had been marginalized by Akhilesh Yadav of late for allegedly hobnobbing with Yogi Adityanath. Yashwant, despite being an SP MLC, invited CM Adityanath instead of Akhilesh to the launch of his book in the Assembly two months back.