Dharam Singh Saini, minister of state (independent charge) for Ayush, Food Security and Drug Administration is the eighth MLA to part ways from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, ahead of the crucial upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh, February.
Saini, a four-time legislator from Nakud in Saharanpur, had joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting the Bahujan Samaj Party, with former UP minister Swami Prasad Maurya, who was the first domino that fell from the BJP army on Tuesday, following which seven other MLAs resigned.
In the last three days, the BJP has lost three ministers to the Samajwadi Party including Maurya and Dara Singh Chauhan.
In his terse resignation letter to the Governor, Chauhan said that the Yogi government had failed to address the aspirations of Dalits, OBCs, and weaker sections of society and was apathetic towards the problems of the youth. He further said that the government was mishandling reservations for Dalits.
Earlier, Saini had denied rumours of quitting the party, after Maurya’s exit, saying, “Swami Prasad Maurya ji remains an elder brother to me. I am hearing on TV channels that he has given my name among those joining the SP with him. There is no talk with him on this…I deny quitting the cabinet and the BJP,”.
Maurya quit the party with the announcement “all will be revealed on Friday”, sparking speculation in political circles.
In his resignation letter, he said that he was upset at the sidelining of Dalits and weaker sections of society. He had been upset because his son Utkarsh Maurya had not been “suitably accommodated” in the Yogi Adityanath government.
Mukesh Verma, Avtar Singh Bhadana, Brijesh Kumar Prajapati, Roshan Lal Varma, Bhagwati Sagar, and Vinay Shakya are the six other leaders that quit the BJP in the last 36 hours.