Former Uttar Pradesh minister and OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan joined the Samajwadi Party on Sunday, days after he resigned from the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet.
Besides Chauhan, Apna Dal (Sonelal) MLA from Vishvanathganj constituency in Pratapgarh district, R.K. Verma, also joined the Akhilesh Yadav-led party, which has emerged as the main challenger to the BJP in the state.
Apna Dal (Sonelal) is an ally of the BJP.
On Friday, former ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini, five BJP MLAs and one from the Apna Dal (Sonelal) had crossed over to the Samajwadi Party.
While joining the SP, Chauhan said: “When the BJP formed government in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, it gave the slogan sabka saath, sabka vikas. But, vikas of a handful of people was done and the rest were left to their fate.”
Chauhan called the SP his “old home” and said: “We will change the politics of Uttar Pradesh, and make Akhilesh Yadav the chief minister once again.”
“People belonging to the OBC and Dalit communities will come together. Our rivals may try their level best but will not be able to stop this storm. A change is inevitable.”
Chauhan, who represents the Madhuban constituency in Mau district, resigned from the cabinet on Wednesday while alleging that Dalits, OBCs and the unemployed did not get justice from the BJP government.
“It was the poor who had made the government but others took all the advantage in the past five years,” he said after resigning as the minister for forests and environment.
Chauhan represented the Ghosi seat in the 15th Lok Sabha after winning the 2009 general election on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket. In the 2014 general election, he was defeated by the BJP’s Harinarayan Rajbhar by over 1.4 lakh votes.
The next year, he joined the BJP and was appointed the party’s OBC Morcha president and fielded from Madhuban.
Swami Prasad Maurya was the first to desert the BJP, and the move was followed by a similar announcement by others – mostly leaders from the Other Backward Classes who claimed that the ruling party had ignored their community.