LUCKNOW: At least five MLAs suspended by the BSP last year met Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday, triggering speculation that they may join his party.
"The meeting with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, which lasted for 15-20 minutes, witnessed discussions on the upcoming UP Assembly elections, and it was a nice meeting," Sushma Patel, MLA from Mungra Badshahpur assembly constituency in Jaunpur district told PTI.
When asked about the future course of action, Patel said, "Personally, I have made up my mind to join the Samajwadi Party."
At present, there are 18 Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
When asked what prompted the suspended BSP MLAs to meet Akhilesh Yadav, Patel said, "We were suspended in October 2020 during the Rajya Sabha elections, and we were categorically told not to use the flag and banner of the BSP, and also to not attend any party meeting."
"At the time of the Rajya Sabha elections, the BSP did not issue any whip, nor did we indulge in cross-voting. We were suspended without any basis. We were suspended as we had gone to meet Akhilesh Yadav," she added.
"Now, we have to look for alternatives. So, in this context, we had called upon Akhilesh Yadav," she said, and added that now she has nothing to do with the BSP. Others who met the SP chief are Mohd Aslam Raini, Hakimlal Bind, Mustafa Siddiqui and Hargovind Bhargav.
In October 2020, seven BSP MLAs were suspended by party president Mayawati.
They had opposed the nomination of party's official candidate Ramji Gautam for the elections to the Rajya Sabha.
Apart from the five who met Yadav, Chaudhary Aslam Ali and Vandana Singh had also been suspended from the BSP.
Earlier this month, Mayawati had expelled BSP's legislative party leader Lalji Verma and Akbarpur MLA Ram Achal Rajbhar.