Another minister quits Yogi cabinet; BJP’s OBC fortress crumbles ahead of UP polls

New Delhi, January 13 (KMS):  A day after India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received a massive blow with the resignation of Swami Prasad Maurya, a minister in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet in Uttar Pradesh, along with four other MLAs, Dara Singh Chauhan, minister of environment and forests, call it quits.

Like SP Maurya, Chauhan too comes from an OBC background. With these resignations the group’s support to the BJP is expected to significantly dwindle ahead of the upcoming elections in the state.

Chauhan had joined the BJP in 2015 after defecting from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) as a Member of Parliament from 2009 to 2014. In the BJP, he was made head of the OBC unit and given a ministerial position in the cabinet in 2017.

“I worked with dedication but I am resigning as I am hurt by this government’s oppressive attitude towards the backward, deprived sections, Dalits, farmers and unemployed youth and the neglect of quota for the backward and Dalits,” Chauhan wrote in his resignation letter.

After the announcement of his resignation, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya took to Twitter urging Chauhan to review his decision.

The politicians leaving the BJP are expected to join the Samajwadi Party, which is open to new entrants. The party is jubilant over the exodus from the ruling BJP.

“It cannot be that I say something on one day and then resign the next day. I hoped my voice would be heard sooner or later. But when things came to the point that no one was willing to listen to me, I had to resign,” Chauhan was quoted by Indian media after he announced the exit decision.

On January 11, five members, including minster Swami Prasad Maurya and four MLAs Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati, Bhagwati Sagar and Vinay Shakya, shocked everyone as they went public with their decision to leave BJP which is using all muscle, men and machinery to get second term in the state.

Reports said that the OBC leaders in the party have been feeling disgruntled for more than a year and had even attempted a rebellion against Yogi a year back but their concerns were not addressed which eventually came to a situation where they were leaving the party.

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