With the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) saddled with the anti-incumbency factor and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) crumbling under its own weight, it is now the BJP that is facing a problem of plenty in Uttar Pradesh.

Legislators and leaders from SP, BSP and Congress are queuing up to join the BJP and all of them are undoubtedly aspiring for a ticket in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. This is now causing resentment among the party cadre who feel that outsiders are being thrust upon them. It has also left legislators from other parties who wanted to join the BJP in a state of uncertainty.

The RSS, which recently held a five-day conclave in Lucknow, has sensed the resentment brewing at the grassroots in the party organisation and has asked the BJP to restrict the number of tickets to outsiders. RSS leaders have reportedly set a limit of 30-35 tickets to outsiders for the elections to the 403 Assembly seats in the state. The BJP allies, which include the Apna Dal and Bhartiya Samaj Party, will not be a part of this list.

“The joining of leaders from other parties does add to the feel good factor, but it also upsets party workers who feel that they are being deprived the chance of getting to contest elections. We have already welcomed several leaders from other parties, but the time has come for us to halt the process or else this could have an adverse impact on the polls,” a RSS functionary said. Significantly, BJP vice president Om Mathur, who also attended the RSS meet, said that “several big wickets from SP and BSP would fall soon”, indicating that these leaders would end up in the BJP camp.

Last month, when a Congress MLA from Basti, Sanjay Jaiswal, joined the BJP, about 27 party leaders from the district resigned in protest.

BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj also expressed his resentment at the joining of former BSP leader Brijesh Pathak last week.

A district level leader said, “For the past five years, we have been fighting against these leaders in our districts and now, almost overnight, we are expected to roll out the red carpet for them. This is not acceptable to party workers at the grassroots. Since there is nothing we can do about it, a majority of the workers simply stop being active during an election which ultimately damages the party.” The RSS leadership has now advised the BJP leaders to make sure that the local party workers are taken into confidence whenever an outsider is brought into the party. “We need to exercise caution while accepting leaders into the party fold. The image of the leader in question, his acceptance among our cadre and the equations in his constituency must be considered before he is allowed to join the party,” the RSS leader said. The Sangh decision assumes significance as it comes after BSP president Mayawati’s statement that the BJP was accepting her party’s “rejected maal”. The BJP has welcomed six sitting MLAs from BSP, Congress and SP. Prominent leaders who joined the party in recent months include Swami Prasad Maurya and Jugal Kishore from BSP, Shyam Prakash from SP and Pradeep Chaudhary from Congress.

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