The BJP lost a third minister in three days after Dharam Singh Saini on Thursday (January 13) resigned from his post and the party, taking the number of MLAs who have quit the party ahead of the Assembly polls to nine.
Saini, who was in charge of the Ayush, Food Security and Drug Administration department, had reportedly returned the security cover and residence he was provided by the state government earlier in the day.
The spate of resignations began with Swami Prasad Maurya, the minister of Labour, Employment and Coordination, who called it quits with the party on Tuesday.
It was followed by the resignations of Brijesh Kumar Prajapati (Tindwari), Bhagwati Sagar (Bilahur), Roshan Lal Verma (Tilhar Sahahjanpur) and Avtar Singh Bhadana (Meerapur) and Vinay Shakya (Bidhuna).
Dara Singh Chauhan, who was in charge of the Forest and Environment portfolio, was the second minister and one of the prominent OBC leaders in the party to leave.
He cited the BJP’s alleged neglect of the backward classes and Dalits the reason behind his resignation.
On Monday, BJP’s Shikohabad legislator Mukesh Verma, announced his decision to quit the party, levelling similar allegations of caste neglect against the BJP as pointed out by Chauhan.
Saini is said to be a close friend of Maurya and is speculated to be joining the Samajwadi Party like other Maurya aides.
Earlier in the day, Om Prakash Rajbhar, whose Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party has allied with the SP for the polls, claimed that one or two ministers would leave the Yogi Adityanath cabinet every day, taking the total number to 18 by January 20.
Polling will be conducted in Uttar Pradesh in seven phases between February 10 and March 7. The counting of votes will be held on March 10.