Lucknow: With just a few months remaining for the 2022 state assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the political action is picking pace in the state. On Monday, the BJP announced its formal alliance with NISHAD party and Apna Dal, and soon after, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a picture of him with former BSP leaders Ramachal Rajbhar and Lalji Verma.
The SP chief and former UP chief minister captioned the photo as ‘courtesy meeting’. However, the picture suggests that the two leaders who were expelled from BSP some time ago may be officially joining the SP soon. Sources told News18 that both Ramachal Rajbhar and Lalji Verma may join Samajwadi Party in the presence of Akhilesh Yadav next month at a grand rally in the Ambedkar Nagar district.
Ramachal Rajbhar is MLA from the Akbarpur seat and Lalji Verma is MLA from the Katehari seat. Both the leaders were once considered close to BSP chief Mayawati and were even bestowed with key responsibilities like the leader of opposition and BSP national general secretary, respectively. Both had also served as cabinet ministers during the BSP regime in the state.
The BSP has faced several splits over the years marked by leaders accusing the leadership of lack of connect. The churning started last year during the Rajya Sabha polls when five MLAs met Akhilesh and alleged that their support to the BSP candidate was forged. Mayawati suspended seven MLAs for anti-party activities. It is these MLAs who had again met Akhilesh and claimed that with Mayawati having recently expelled veterans Lalji Verma and Ram Achal Rajbhar, they have the support of 11 MLAs.
Prominent leaders who have left or been expelled since 2016 have alleged that extortion and arrogance of the leadership were key reasons for their departure. The fresh concerns seem to be over an unapproachable leadership. These complaints increased after the BSP changed court and broke its pact with the SP following an alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Many also feel that it was combination of Dalit, Muslim and upper caste votes that led to the party’s rise in 2007. However, with the steady exodus, the BSP has lost several prominent faces such as Dara Singh Chauhan, Swami Prasad Maurya, Brijesh Pathak and Naseemuddin Siddiqui.
BSP’s senior leader and Mayawati’s trusted aide Satish Chandra Mishra has emerged as the thorn in the flesh of the 11 party MLAs who have been sacked by Mayawati over the past two years, with most of them accusing Mishra of creating the differences and misleading her. Mishra has been a trusted aide of Mayawati over the years and was key behind the strategy of reaching out to Brahmins that brought BSP to power last in 2007.
Since 2007, when the party last formed the UP government with 206 seats out of 403 and a vote share of 30%, it has fallen to 80 seats (25%) in 2012 and 19 seats (22%) in 2017.