Former Uttar Pradesh minister and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Dara Singh Chauhan joined the Samajwadi Party in Lucknow on Sunday.
After Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini, he is the third minister of the Adityanath-led Cabinet to have defected to the Samajwadi Party in the last three days.
RK Verma, an MLA of the BJP’s ally Apna Dal (Sonelal), also joined the Samajwadi Party on Sunday.
“This [Uttar Pradesh Assembly election] is a fight with the double engine government in Delhi and Lucknow [the BJP’s governments at the Centre and the state],” Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadavsaid after inducting Verma and Chauhan into his party, according to NDTV.
Chauhan said that in the last Assemly elections in 2017, the BJP had received votes of the people from backward communities in 2017, but failed to give anything in return, the Hindustan Times reported. “Hence, all those belonging to backward communities are trooping to the SP,” he said.
Chauhan had resigned from the state Cabinet on Wednesday.
On Friday, several leaders from the BJP and Bahujan Samaj Party, including former ministers Maurya and Saini had joined the Samajwadi Party
Labour Minister Maurya’s exit from the Adityanath Cabinet on Tuesday had triggered an exodus from the BJP, which saw as many ten leaders quitting the party in three days.
The 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly will go to polls in seven phases starting from February 10. The results will be announced on March 10.