Bharatiya Janata Party MP Shyama Charan Gupta, who represents Prayagraj in the Lok Sabha, resigned from the party on Saturday and joined Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. Gupta will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Banda in the state’s Bundelkhand region, the Opposition party announced.
Gupta, an influential leader from the Baniya community in eastern Uttar Pradesh, was with the Samajwadi Party earlier too, NDTV reported. Baniyas are the community of merchants, bankers, money-lenders who run various commercial enterprises. He contested the Lok Sabha election from Banda for the Opposition party in 1999 but lost to the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate. He, however, won from Banda in 2004. Gupta contested from Phulpur in 2009 as a Samajwadi Party candidate but lost the election.
The parliamentarian told the Hindustan Times on Friday that he had been treated shabbily by the saffron party. “I am still a BJP MP for the next over a month,” he said. “Barring four to five, none of the party MPs in the state has worked as hard as I have in the past five years. I stood by the party where and when required, be it making arrangements for the party national executive meeting or canvassing for assembly polls. Leave alone reimbursement of hefty money spent, the party leadership even failed to acknowledge the same.”
Gupta claimed that while the party had granted tickets to the children of several MPs, his son had not been fielded in polls by the party high command.
The Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal have formed an alliance in the state to contest the elections. However, they have left out the Congress, with BSP chief Mayawati ruling out the possibility of allying with the Rahul Gandhi-led party in any part of the country. Earlier this month, Akhilesh Yadav had claimed that the Congress is part of the coalition.
The Samajwadi Party, which won five parliamentary seats in the state in 2014, released the names of nine candidates on March 8. The Congress has released the names of 11 candidates from the state, including that of party president Rahul Gandhi, who will contest from Amethi.
The Lok Sabha elections in the state will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.