Lucknow: In a major setback for the party supremo Mayawati, five legislators of Bahujan Samaj Party have withdrawn their support to the BSP's official candidate, Ramji Gautam, for the Rajya Sabha biennial elections.
The five legislators informed the returning officers that their signatures as proposers for Gautam were forged.
Immediately after informing the returning officer, the five legislators - Aslam Chaudhary, Aslam Raini, Muztaba Siddiqui, Hakam Lal Bind and Govind Jatav - went straight to the Samajwadi Party office to meet Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav. Days before, Aslam Chaudhary's wife had joined Samajwadi Party.
This is the first time that the BSP has faced such a major setback, and that too, from her 2019 ally, the Samajwadi Party. Mayawati's party's strength has now shrinked to 13 MLAs in the assembly.
The dramatic development that rocked political equations on Wednesday is bound to cast its shadow on the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
On Tuesday, an Independent candidate, Prakash Bajaj, supported by Samajwadi Party, had filed his nomination papers, giving a clear indication of the events of Wednesday.
BSP MLA Uma Shankar Singh has alleged that the five legislators who had rebelled against the party were being given 'benefits' of a money-bag and to stop Dalit leader Ramji Gautam, from going to Rajya Sabha.
The ruling BJP, having 304 members in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, is set to win eight to nine seats, and the main opposition Samajwadi Party with 48 MLAs will easily secure only one seat. Their strength will rise to 53 after the BSP rebels joining the rank.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has now 13 MLAs, the Apna Dal has nine, the Congress seven, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party four while five are Independents.
(Based on IANS feed)