Lucknow, Sept 21 (PTI): BSP rebel Indrajeet Saroj, who was a minister when the Mayawati-led party ruled Uttar Pradesh, joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) on Thursday in the presence of its chief Akhilesh Yadav here.
Besides Saroj, several BSP workers including those who were party candidates in the 2017 UP Assembly polls joined the SP.
After joining the SP, Saroj lashed out at the BSP saying he did not have the freedom to speak or act there. A BSP leader, however, hit back terming him an “opportunist”.
“Just as there is an undeclared emergency in the country under the Narendra Modi regime, the same situation prevails in the BSP. There is freedom in the SP to act and speak. I will strengthen the party in its fight to expose the BJP,” Saroj, a four-time MLA, told reporters.
Saroj added that he would work to ensure that Yadav becomes the chief minister of UP again. Before that we will win the maximum number of seats from UP in the Lok Sabha polls, he said.
He hit out at the Yogi Adityanath led BJP government in the state saying it had done nothing during its six months in office.
Welcoming Saroj, Yadav said that he was a ground level worker.
“In the days to come, Samajwadis have to face the real fight. BJP did not have any issue and only relies on bringing some misleading issue at the time of elections so that the people’s attention is diverted from core issues,” he said.
Saroj, a Dalit, who was the BSP’s national general secretary, had resigned from the party on August 2, accusing Mayawati of asking him to “extort” money from candidates and other party functionaries during the Assembly elections.
He belongs to the Pasi sub-caste that accounts for 15 per cent of the total Dalit population in UP.
A BSP leader, however, termed Saroj as an “opportunist who wanted to dent the party” after the defeat in Assembly elections.
“They became leaders because of the mass following of ‘behenji’ (Mayawati). Otherwise, they have no following,” said a senior BSP leader. Saroj was no longer with us, the BSP leader added.
On Thursday’s development comes at a time when the BSP is already grappling with several high-profile desertions.
Senior party functionaries like Swami Prasad Maurya, Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Brajesh Pathak and RK Chaudhary are among those who rebelled against the BSP chief.
While Maurya and Pathak joined BJP before the Assembly elections and have become ministers, Siddiqui and Chaudhary have not joined any party so far.