The movement of political leaders on the eve of elections often determines the way in which the wind is preparing to blow and indications of this have already started emerging in Uttar Pradesh. While Muslim MLAs are making a beeline for the Bahujan Samaj Party, the non-Muslim MLAs are heading towards the BJP.
Four Muslims legislators—three from Congress and one from Samajwadi Party—joined the BSP this week. The Congress legislators who have joined the BSP are Nawab Kazim Ali from Rampur, Dr Muslim from Tiloi in Amethi and Dilnawaz Khan from Bulandshahar. The lone SP MLA to join the BSP is Nawazish Alam Khan from Muzaffarnagar. All the four MLAs had cross voted in favour of the BSP during the Rajya Sabha biennial elections in June and were subsequently expelled from their respective parties.
“I could not stay on in the Congress because the party seemed to be making no efforts to revive itself,” said one of the Congress legislators who joined the BSP.
A Samajwadi Party leader, who requested anonymity, said that Muslim leaders in western UP had no choice because minorities were against the SP: “The Muzaffarnagar riots, then the Dadri lynching incident and also the Kairana issue have proved that the SP government made no efforts to protect Muslims in the area,” he said.
The non-Muslim legislators who are making a beeline for the BJP said that the SP and BSP had lost the faith of the people.
“This time, it is going to be a one way road for the BJP and SP and the BSP will face major reverses. The arithmetic in the state has completely changed and regional parties are going to be marginalised,” said Guddu Pandit, an SP MLA who is all set to join the BJP.
The MLAs who joined the BJP this week include Sanjay Jaiswal, Madhuri Varma and Vijay Dubey from the Congress, Bala Prasad Awasthi and Rajesh Tripathi from the BSP and Rampal Yadav and Sher Bahadur from the Samajwadi Party.
Two more SP MLAs, Guddu Pandit and his brother Mukesh Sharma will join the BJP but could not make it to Lucknow due to ill health. Two BSP MLAs, Romi Sahni and Brijesh Varma are also ready to join the BJP in the coming days.
If sources are to be believed, about a dozen more BSP MLAs will join the BJP in the coming weeks.
According to an insider, the sitting BSP legislators have been asked to pay into the party fund for their tickets for the 2017 Assembly elections and a number of them are in no mood to do so.
“These MLAs are in touch with us and as soon as the modalities are worked out, they will join the party,” admitted a senior BJP leader.
The BJP, apparently, wants to admit these legislators in a phased manner so that they can keep the pressure mounted on the BSP leadership. “We want to give shocks to the BSP at regular intervals, so these MLAs will join us from time to time,” the BJP leader said.
State BJP president Keshav Maurya told this correspondent that the trend was a clear indication of the times to come: “The BJP is a clear choice of the people. People want to get rid of regional forces that have promoted corruption and criminalisation in a big way in the state. People want governance and development and it is the BJP alone which can assure this.”